Have you ever had an “aha” moment? Well, I did yesterday as I was driving to work in plain view of the full moon. For some reason, I actually thought, “what if creation could talk? What if the moon and the sun and the stars and the trees and all living things could speak to us? Well, first of all, it “dawned” on me as the moon was setting, that for those of us who believe in the inter-connectedness of all creation, that we are spoken to…in signs and symbols and nature. I also reflected on whether we could be much more attentive to the messages of creation. During this brief drive to my office, I reminded myself to be more attentive.
Attentiveness…..as I arrived at the office and opened my emails, I had a plea for help from our Administrators in Nica. A little 12 year old girl with cerebral palsy was in desperate need of a special medical test and some medicines and that she lives in el Tigre, one of the most marginalized barrios of many we serve. The family lives in a hut, no running water, no electricity and miles from anything whatsoever. In my heart pocket, I prayed that somehow we’d be able to respond to the ever increasing urgent needs for such marginalized children. I prayed that through our connections of heart and hope, we’d be able to respond to a small helpless child thousands of miles away. I prayed that creation would spread the healing and hopefilled energy to those who could hear and respond.
Then, as the morning moved forward, an elderly gentleman came to drop something off at our warehouse and asked to see me. In conversation, he told me he was moved by all the good we do and wanted to give me a donation for the Mission. He was in the midst of writing out the check (mind you, at this time, I still did not know how much he was going to contribute), when he asked me if the donation could go toward needy children. I told him that we honor the wishes of the donor. At that point, he handed me a check for $200 and I was moved because I truly believe “all the stars aligned” as the saying goes. I proceeded to tell him that just earlier yesterday, I had received a plea to help a little girl with very serious medical issues and explained that given the remoteness of where she lives, she and her family have few options. I also told him he had just answered a prayer because that family needed $220. Promptly and without skipping a beat, he asked me, “why didn’t you tell me before I wrote the check and I would have added the extra $20”. I explained I didn’t know what he could afford but was sure we’d find the rest..and he took out his wallet and gave the rest in cash. Is there an interconnectedness in all of creation? I firmly believe so, and this was just one more example of how a child in horrific conditions could receive a new lease on life due to a generous man living in upstate New York. Sometimes we forget how all of life is entwined, especially in the ever growing divisive and negative atmosphere we often see on the news and we experience in our world today.
But that’s only part of the story….
Now, for those of you who remember Paul Harvey, and as he said daily, “now for the rest of the story”, you’ll find this amazing. A couple weeks ago, I wrote to you about “How dare she?”…a reflection about a woman who had taken her 2 children out of school and they were on the streets, doing whatever needed to be done to earn a few pennies for food. What we found out this week, as we pursued that situation more, is that the woman actually has 8 children and all but the two infant twins had been on the streets. So, how can this be and how can we assist in securing safety and providing hope for this family? Well, we have enough sponsors now to put all the other 6 children in school, but since that didn’t solve the original problem of feeding a family of this size on “nothing”, we negotiated a “deal” with the mother. Namely, if we could find enough donors to provide $25 a week for food for the family of 10, would she promise to keep the children in school? She was overwhelmed with the HOPE, said yes and expressed how grateful she was that people could care for her and her family that much! YES….how DARE WE? How dare we give a mother and her family hope?! How dare we be attentive to the needs of others, perhaps even someone we’ve never met? How dare we do our part to prevent children from being preyed upon or trafficked and exploited? WE MUST DARE!
So, one of our key volunteers who translates for us often, was so deeply moved, she reached out to her friends and they have already collected $700. Two other donors also are contributing $100 each. That brings us to $900 of the $1300 it would take to feed her family for an entire year. So……can anyone help us close the gap and donate so we can receive the other $400 we need? HOW DARE I ask? I ask in the name of the voiceless street children who will now be fed and stay in school. If you can help, please Venmo and state “street children” or memo it on a check. Yes, it is true that we can’t feed them for only a year, but we begin with a year….and I trust that we may find donors willing to contribute $100 a year to save children from the street. We are also grateful to the sponsors who have picked up these children for education as well. Thank you for daring to be connected, thank you for daring to care, thank you for daring to drive out darkness with the light of compassion and hope. Thank you.
I just read this quote recently as I prepare for major meetings with my Congregation: “We must speak hope always and everywhere in the midst of the darkness of our times.” (Amata Miller, IHM) That’s “HOW DARE WE!” We must battle the hopelessness with our words, and our actions. I firmly believe in what Thomas Merton once said, “Together, we can make change happen”. That’s who we are and what we do as humans! That’s being attentive to the interrelatedness of all creation. That’s how we embrace each other in compassion, kindness and hope. That’s HOW DARE WE!
Be daring and full of hope this week- living in deeper awareness of our powerful web of creation and of life….live and be HOPE!
Sr. Debbie Blow