Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One Word, Five Voices: Tears


Oh my...have I shed a few in my 31 years. Joyful tears, heartbroken tears, proud tears, furious tears...the list could go on for a good long while, I'm sure. But when I saw "tears" was the chosen word for this month, I immediately thought of 40+ kids in an orphanage halfway across the world in Russia. Because their tears? They're some of the most morose, painful tears I've ever encountered.

Watching my own children cry--when they're hurt, or scared--it's hard. So hard. I wish I could wipe the pain and fright away, but at best, all I can give is a hug, and a promise that "it'll be okay." The thing is, sometimes that's all they need. A quick cuddle from Momma restores security and heals pain better than any medicine--I'm sure of it. Because in my arms, they feel safe. They feel wanted and important. They feel loved.

As much as I want to, I can't quite do the same for my Russian kids. I can't promise them things will turn out just fine. The hugs I give and the love I pour into them certainly can't make up for years of abuse and neglect. Those facts were sobering for me after my first trip to Russia in 2010. I left feeling as though I couldn't possibly have made any difference in their shattered young lives. But then I went back the following year and saw just what a difference that tiny bit of love had made. I saw maturing, more confident kids. I saw walls coming down that had been built up for years. I saw trust forming in a tangible way. I saw what loving your neighbor is about in its rawest form.

So no, I can't promise my Russian kids things will get better. I can't dry their tears as I leave and wrap them in comfort the same way I can with my own boys. I can't even promise I will be back the following year, or that I'll ever see them again.

But I can promise a love that's not my own. I can love them in the way they were created to be loved. And that makes all the difference.
Me and my buddy, Dima.

To learn more about how you can partner with me and the rest of the 2013 Russia Team, please contact me via e-mail at linnie104@aol.com.

This post is part of a series focused on a single word, which started with a 2013 Lenten challenge from Rethink Church. A group of five friends (including me) posted once a day and love-hated it so much we couldn't stop. We now post once a month on the same word. Check out what my friends think of the word "tears" on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.