It was all so overwhelming. For a person who cherishes her time alone, to not have any time to herself, in any capacity for more than ten days was one thing. Trying to take in all the colors, textures, smells, and sounds as fast and as best as I could, plus do mental gymnastics in an attempt to communicate, was a whole other set of issues. Top that off with sleep deprivation, change in diet, exercise, heat, and humidity - well, it wasn't pretty. I wasn't pretty - inside or out.
So why do I desire to go back to a place where I felt gritty, smelly, slimy, and inadequate? Mostly, because the people there loved me anyway. They didn't expect much from me and accepted what ever entertainment, companionship, and love I had to offer. They gave me more than affection, they touched me with grace. They called me "Sister" and embraced me. Wouldn't it be something if we loved each other like that? If we loved one another not because of what they had to offer us, but because they are depraved flesh and bones like us?
I think the five days we spent there were like a brief field research project in my continuing education on humility. Include the six months of preparation and debriefing and I think I should get a few credit hours. In the back of my mind, I thought we were going to help the poor, but I was shown my own poverty. I thought WE would be the heros of the story and yet it seems that God has graciously allowed us to witness His heroic acts.
I'm including some photos that Brian and Sara took. They are great reminders to me of what my calling is - to be a tool He can use. Whether it is a crooked nail, a piece of hardwood, or a clay pot, I must allow myself to be used for His purpose and for the purpose He created me to be. Being a nail, may not seem as glamorous as a saw, but a saw won't hold the board in place. And, as my photographer friends have taught me, in the right Light and proper perspective, any tool is beautiful.