Sunday, May 3, 2009

Homesick

So much has happened in the last few weeks, it’s hard for to know where to begin. My role here at GLA has taken quite a change. Our update coordinator, Melanie came down with Hep A and had to return to the states for medical care. Of course that left us in quite a pinch, needing someone to help take over some of her tasks while she is gone. Dixie and I worked together to figure out a plan and for the remainder of my time here I will be working in the office here at GLA. Taking photos of the kids and helping Dixie write updates to their parents every month. One of the other duties that I have started helping Dixie with has to do with when a child is brought in to GLA. When a parent comes in with a baby I take photos of them and bring the baby upstairs into the nursery. This lets me really see the side of this mission that deals with the Haitian parents

Last week we had 7 babies brought to us, 5 of them in the very same day! We had a baby boom in November where we admitted 6 babies in a 2 week time. That felt like a lot, this week was incredible. Of all the children who came to us, Thursday held a special one for me. Baby "M-Bee" is 10 months old. When I went out to take her admission picture she buried her face in her mothers neck and screamed in terror. I doubt this sweet girl had ever seen a white person before and she was scared! She was crying and clinging to her mother. Many would say that she was too young to know what has happening to her, I saw the look on her face. She knew. When it came time to take her to the nursery she started screaming even harder she cried so hard that I couldn’t even take her upstairs, we had to call for a nanny to come and get her because she was so scared of me. As she walked away her cries carried through the house, and in her cries I heard her little voice speak…she cried “mama, mama” over and over again. Turning to back to M's mother I saw her, with arms dangling at her side and her hands were shaking, they were trembling against the overwhelming urge to snatch her baby back and run home. They were quivering, fighting to do what she knew she had to. I saw a pain in her eyes that I pray I will never witness again. The look on the face of a mother who had just lost her child. The helplessness of a woman who, because of circumstances beyond her control, could not do the one thing she was created to do. Watching her leave I felt yet another part of my heart give over to this country. At a point where I did not realize I had anything left to give, and still my heart can break.

I could not get this sweet little baby out of my head and so I went up to the nursery to see how she was doing, before I even opened the door her cries met me. When I entered I found her, huddled in the corner of a crib, sobbing hysterically. I picked her up and just rocked her for several minuets. I held her while she cried for “tete” in Creole tete means breast. M had been exclusively breastfed for her entire life and to her, tete represented her Mama. Her mother, who had given her life for 10 whole months, with no warning was ripped away. This sweet baby was grieving the loss of the most important person in her life, she cried, then I cried too. I cried for this little girl who lost her entire world, and I cried for a mother with empty arms. We sat together for a long time, crying and rocking and I prayed for this little life. I prayed that the family that God was building for her would remember that as much as they would love her, someone loved her before. And I prayed that they would allow her that love. I pray that they would encourage her to remember where she came from and what God brought her out of. Like all of these babies, I prayed that she would learn to love Him above all else and that she would let him lead her life for all of her days. I prayed that she would understand that He had a purpose for saving her from Haiti and she would strive to fulfill that purpose no matter the cost.

M has been here for 4 days now. At every meal time she still cries for “tete” but the times in between tears are getting longer and longer. She doesn’t cry all day, but she doesn’t smile either. She is broken but like every child here does, she will heal. One day she will smile, and laugh and someday soon she will be happy here. She will probably soon forget the face of her mother. Her grief will be short lived. But there is a woman out there tonight who will not soon get over her loss. There is a mother without her baby. There is a woman who, for her entire life will close her eyes and see the face of her child. There is a mother who will go through her days knowing there is someone out there who shares her eyes, and someone who she will never forget. For her whole life she will know she is living somewhere, and I can’t begin to imagine how much that must hurt. And yet, as hard as it must have been to come to terms with her choice, she knew that without it, she would have watched her baby die. To give her life, though it meant life where she would have to give her up, was still something she chose to do. I may sound like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough how much I admire the selfless love I am seeing. How many people get the chance to see this love in their lives? How many others will see it just once? Here I am, having seen it countless times. I wonder what it is I will face in my life where I will need to fall back on the things I have learned here.

In the last week I have taken 4 children out of the arms of their parents and walked away. I have gone with the most important part of them held in my hands. I have delivered these little ones into the hold of a nurse who will take care of them until the next part of the plan for their lives is carried out. I have had moments with each child that literally changes its entire future and I do not take those moments for granted. I know that God must be training me for something that I don’t understand but like M sometimes all I can see is my grief. I see the moments slipping through my fingers and I know that much too soon I will have to leave the babies that I love. Nothing scares me more than that thought, but I take comfort in knowing that this is just a part of the big picture. That even though I can’t see it now, God is using this season to train me for even greater things. I have no idea what that will be but I wouldn’t trade this lesson for anything in the world. The way that M cries for her mother shows me how homesick she is. She misses her arms, her face, her love. She is homesick for all she knew. I sometimes find myself in that same place. Sometimes I am so homesick for the way I know my life should be that I am veiled by grief. Some moments I have no choice but to cry for God like M cries for her mama. Though I know through His promises that He is always here, sometimes He feels so far away. I am so homesick for the times when I can feel his arms. I am homesick when I know that this Christian walk goes up and down and there are moments when I can remember how it feels on the top of the mountain, but have no idea how to climb back up there. Sometimes I get so frustrated, realizing how much like these babies I am in the eyes of God. I can look at them and see how far they will go, while all they can see is their grief. God looks at me and sees where I will go, while all I see is June 10th looming ahead.

For the next 6 weeks M and I will lean on each other. I will do my best to calm her fears, while God uses her to calm mine. I will pray for her and turn the words around and use them for myself. Once again God will show me, though a helpless baby, the person He wants me to be. And as I treasure the last 6 weeks that I have, I beg of you all to pray too. Please pray for me as I learn to let go, and as I seek his face. Even more than that, please pray for the little ones that I will leave behind. Please pray, as I do, that they will grow into amazing children of God and that He would use them for incredible things. Pray that I would trust him with their lives as much as I am trusting him with mine. Over the next week or so I will be writing a separate post about several children here. These will be children I have become especially close to, babies who I want you all to know. I hope that through those posts you will be able to find even more specific ways to love and pray for the children of Haiti.

Holding her while He holds me,
Rhyan

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