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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: Shawn, Heather, Steph and Brian.