Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's good to be HOME!

HOME, oh how it is good to be home!  Being with my family, eating familiar food, sleeping in a familiar bed, and breathing the fresh smells of a clean bathroom.  These are just a few of the things that I have enjoyed since getting home on Tuesday.  Our minds and our bodies are so accustomed to our comforts that when they are taken away, we suddenly realize how tightly connected we are to these things.  They not only bring us comfort, but they also bring security, familiarity, predictability, and satisfaction - they bring rest and relaxation and peace to our lives.

Since being home, sleep has been overpowering in the early evening and elusive in the early morning.  My body is unsure in which Continent it has landed and to which timezone to secure itself.  Gradually, the sun's cycle and my sleep cycle are merging.

For those of you who helped support the efforts of the playground equipment in southern Ethiopia, we want to say, "Thank you!"  It was a great success and a lot of fun to watch the kids who were watching the equipment go into place.  The merry-go-rounds and slides and swings will see many, many hours of non-stop play.  The equipment will bring joy to the lives of many children who have so little.  It will give them a chance to experience exhilaration and excitement in a land where survival is all they really know.

Thinking about the many children I saw, it became clear how very similar they are to my own children.  They are not unique creatures made and fashioned to live without food and water, or home and shelter, or mom and dad.  They have needs and emotions and joys and tears just like my own children.  They have ear infections and fevers and cuts and bruises.  They enjoy sports and playground equipment and singing and each other.  They have feet that get sores and infections when they don't have shoes to wear.  They go to school and learn to read and write.  They love to sing songs about Jesus.  Yes, they are very similar to my own children.  Being with these kids brought them from a distant scenery to a close reality - a close reality where I could hold them and look in their eyes and see that they are just kids.  There are many of them that I won't forget.  Whether it was an excited smile or a weary look in their eyes, they became real to me.

In the end, what do these kids need?  They need the same thing my kids need.  They need love, family, God, school, food, water, and medical care.  And yet many of these things are missing.  Each child has a story and each child has a different need.  And thankfully the organization that we traveled with is reaching into each child's life, each family's life, to meet these needs - to make sure that these children are not forgotten.

It's good for me to be home.  And I'm praying that all of these kids that roll through my  mind would experience the same kind of home, the same kind of peace, the same kind of love.