I mentioned at the beginning of my news/notes that this would be a truth or dare theme. Now, to the “How Dare She”, then to the TRUTH!
One of the saddest pieces of info I learned from Magaly this week while reviewing each sponsored child, is that two of our young sponsored children are now out of school and on the streets and in the dumpy areas, recycling whatever and being caught up in “whatever”, in order to raise pennies to help feed a family of 7. My first reaction was that I cringed from sadness. Then, I wondered momentarily, almost automatically, WHY? HOW DARE SHE? Maybe some of you are wondering “how dare she”? How dare this mother take her children out of school, where they would be fed a daily meal, only to put them on the streets to scrap for garbage and recycling to earn a few pennies. How dare she deprive these children of HOPE?
As I’ve reflected on this over the past few days, it sounded eerily similar to an experience that Sr. Stephanie and I had on our first Mission 20 years ago. We were in downtown market in Managua with other missioners, giving them a couple hours to see the market and perhaps buy a couple things to bring home. As we rounded a dark and dingy corner, there was a young mother in one of the dark, hot, humid, dusty stalls, selling. Behind her in a dark crevice in the wall, was a tiny baby. Sr. Steph spotted the baby, went over to it and started to coo and connect. At this point, the mother became excited and fired off many words in Spanish. We assumed she was scolding Steph for speaking to the baby, but via the translator, we learned that the mother was begging Sr. Steph to take her baby and bring her back to the USA. HOW DARE SHE! That is exactly what some of the missioners with us said, as they listened to the encounter. How dare this mother give her lovely child away. How dare she!
And then, once the initial reactions to both stories settled down, the deeper question is, “why would either mother dare to do such a thing”?!
How dare one mother put her children on the street.
How dare the other mother give her child away.
How dare they? Perhaps the TRUTH of the matter is that they saw this as the way to save their children….to save a family of 7 from starvation by depriving 2 of an education and who were around 9 years old, and thus, the oldest and most capable of scrapping for food for all the family. Perhaps the other mother saw the potential of giving her baby away to Sr. Stephanie, with the HOPE that the little infant girl would have a life, and be spared from high rates of infancy death, malnourishment, lack of medical care, etc.
The truth of the matter is that every single day in our world, 6,000 children will die from hunger, thousands more will end up on the streets as street kids, and thousands more will be trafficked. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Thousands more will be caught in the crossfires of war and drugs and gangs and violence, thousands more will be displaced and homeless, and thousands more will step into a journey of hundreds and thousands of miles, a nightmare of sorts, to try and save their children.
How dare these mothers try to save their children? How dare they? Perhaps the Truth or Dare of my thought this week, is that we can try to judge less and care more, we can try to avoid selfish actions to make sure we have enough to waste and never want, and rather, perhaps, just perhaps, we can DARE to seek the deeper TRUTH that is exposed every time we see a child who is a victim of war, a child at our borders, a child washed ashore, a child shot in the crossfires of drugs and gun violence, a child trafficked for sex, and more.
May we DARE to live the Beatitudes, may we DARE to speak Truth to Power, may we DARE to be better Christians, better Muslims, better Jews, better Buddhists, better Hindus, better human beings no matter our walk!
May we DARE….in fact, we must DARE!
So, Dare to be Hope this week, dare to be truth, dare to be the best version of who we are called to be as humans!
Sr. Debbie Blow