With these somewhat more relaxed days of summer, we have had more time to chill a bit with the kids. This week, Hanna and Biruk both separately opened up a little more about their lives while in Ethiopia.
Friday we had a 40 minute car ride home from a friend's house. Hanna took that time to share:
She told of her mother's house made of plastic and sticks. A large storm came and blew it away. As her mother became weaker with illness, they had less and less food. Sometimes there was no food. Sometimes she had a lunch to bring to school, but someone would steal it. The story went on like that until we got home.
At the same time, Scott took Andy and Biruk camping with Grandpa. Biruk told them stories along the same vein. He told Scott that as his mother grew weaker, she would sleep with a stick because people would come into the house to steal their food. She would hit them with her stick and their older brother would beat them up and strip them of their clothes to shame them as he pushed them out of their home. He also told of less and less food.
How easily we forget and insulate ourselves from the lives our children have lived. How easily we become irritated with any kinks in their transition. Could I do as well? I don't think so. I like to think I am strong, but it is easy to be strong when you are safe and well fed and protected. Would I really be the same strong person without those things?
So I didn't just learn facts about my children's lives, I learned more about what should continue to be done. I have been on both sides of this conversation, and I am sure at some time so have you. It goes like this:
1st person:Yadda, yadda, yadda, adoption, help the homeless, visit elderly...
2nd person: that is so amazing, I could never do that...
STOP RIGHT THERE.
This is our problem.
We are always so quick to focus on what we can't do. Stop wasting my time and your breath on what you can't do. What you can't do doesn't matter.
Find out what it is that you can do, and get started on doing it.
Every little thing you can do makes a world of difference to the one you are doing it for.
Do you know the story of the hummingbird?
It goes like this:
One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging
wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the
edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and
powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought
there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked
up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the
stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals
watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother,
it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you
can't put out this fire."
And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless
and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a
mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or
losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."
Are you doing what you can?
Don't you hear Mary: What ever he tells you to do, do it!