This week the kids and I are on a whirlwind Texas tour visiting grandparents, other family and old friends. I am putting up an old post in hopes that with my incessant begging, someone will decide that they have something they should share on "A Thursday for Your Thoughts". I personally have been blessed by Jaime and Cindy in the last two weeks. There are a couple of ladies that will be highlighted the next few Thursdays that will encourage you as well. My time in Kenya is a persistent and beautiful reminder of the joy that comes from sharing and giving of ourselves. I don't mind sharing those memories more than once.
Sharing shoes to many, may sound like fighting words. I had two sisters to share clothes with. Our exchange usually had an ugly ending. Someone wouldn't return, or even worse wouldn't ask to wear the other's shirt. I remember borrowing my younger sister's suede vest and accidentally burning a hole in it. Hallie recently borrowed a gray sweater of mine. I couldn't find it. Being without my gray sweater imperfected my look on the outside and made some ugly stuff escape my lips too. No, in my experience sharing hasn't always turned out pretty.
I had the unbelievable opportunity a couple of years ago to spend some time at a girls' orphanage in Kenya. There were about a hundred girls there ranging from the ages of five to fifteen. Several men including Jason went, with plans to build a playground. I spent hours preparing for the trip, writing letters of the alphabet on lima beans placing them in order into a compartmentalized plastic box. Being a teacher I would have plenty of games to aid them in an educational quest. I placed pictures of my family in an envelope to give the girls insight into my life... Armed with gifts and games I went on a mission to share knowledge and to share life.
As I spent time with the girls I was delighted to observe a colorful pile of flip-flops while the girls played barefoot in the sand. I, myself am a girl who loves her flip-flops. I remember watching as they approached the shoe pile,
finding a pair
- inching their their toes between the strap.
Just like sisters, they went about; outfitted in someone elses belongings. I never heard them complain though.
They fixed each other's hair and fixed mine too. They grabbed mine and my friends' sunglasses quickly passing them from one face to another. They didn't ask; they just shared. My friends and I showed pictures of our families to the girls which were also quickly snatched and distributed.
Maybe most impressive were the earrings, Obama bubblegum and rubber-band bracelets given to me. Each girl at the orphanage had a small trunk in which her every possession fit, with much room to spare, and yet they gave freely. And they smiled as they received. Sharing life, that's what they were doing.
You would think that having so few possessions would cause them to cling to what little they had. They did, in fact, cling to what little they had, but it wasn't the things. I watched as motherless, fatherless children clinged to each other. And I clinged to them. I played like I'd never played before. We played jump rope with a broken water hose and some pieces of nylon rope the men had left over. We sang and we danced fitting our hands together like a beautiful tapestry.
There wasn't a care that someone was wearing someone else's flip-flop.
I would guess that the lima beans that I painstakingly lettered and ordered are probably gone now. Possessions, after all didn't seem to mean too much. I have a trunk now full of letters, bead and rubber-band bracelets and other trinkets from the two trips to the orphanage. I'd give them all up just to spend another day with those girls.
Funny how I had my plan; a plan to give gifts and share knowledge and life.
-But it was me who learned about sharing shoes and sharing life.
A Thursday for Your Thoughts.
Each Thursday I would love to highlight someone different.
I have mentioned before that I have a prayer for this website. I pray that we as women would have a place to share; and that as we share, we are certain there are faces on the other side of the screen that are laughing, crying and just plain nodding their head in understanding. I pray that we would grow together.
But more than anything, I pray that this space would bring much-deserved glory to our God who is with us.