I just finished this book, There is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Green. I have been thinking about it nonstop since I started it, and really do not have the words to describe what is has done to my heart. Broken it, stirred it, compelled it, motivated it, all would apply. There is no way I can adequately describe or explain what is going on in Ethiopia, and really all over the world concerning orphans, but if you want a picture of it, read this book. And we all should be aware of these needs.
It is about an Ethiopian woman who found herself taking in orphans, many of them orphaned by AIDS, and the stories behind the statistics. You can really get lost in statistics, they becomes just numbers and not people, they don't seem real, there is no connection. But, when you get to know who those statistics are, when you see a face, hear a name, or hear a story, it changes everything. I read about a 3 year old girl and her 1 year old brother who watched both parents suffer a painful death from AIDS, and then go through more heart wrenching trauma when their remaining family members left them in an orphanage so they would not die of starvation. I was overwhelmed thinking about all of these children who need help, who are suffering in every way imaginable. And literally millions more, just in Ethiopia alone whose stories were not written down, but are in the same situation or even worse.
I have begun to realize how much of my life is about my comfort. I spend my days trying to make things easier for myself, looking forward to the next fun thing we have coming up, or my next opportunity to have a break and spend some time by myself. Meanwhile, children are suffering and dying, many of them alone. Is there a worse thought than that? A child in pain, with no one to hold and comfort them?
A couple of days ago Isaac was having some tummy trouble, and had a blowout diaper in his bed, requiring a bath, clean sheets and fresh pajamas. The thought that kept coming into my mind was, what about all the kids who don't have anyone to clean them up when they are sick? No one to gently wash them up, change them and rock them back to sleep?
I also have been thinking a lot about why I was chosen to grow up in America, with more than enough of everything. Could a big part of that reason be, so I could help others? So I could be an answer to someone's prayers? I remember from another book, The Hole in Our Gospel, that the author, Richard Stearns had traveled to another country and helped a woman in poverty. I think he helped her medically, but am not totally sure. Anyway, he wrote that she had been praying for years that God would provide for her. And God did provide, through this man. I just can't help but feel that there is so much more than working your whole life for a nice house, fashionable clothes, and fun vacations. Maybe part of that "more" is being an answer to someone else's prayers.
I know that nothing I am writing is new or things that we have never heard before, I have heard these things my whole life. But something is changing in my heart, and I am completely convinced that what I am currently doing to help orphans is no where near enough, and probably never will be.