Many years ago I had the wonderful privilege of being with people who are—on the surface only of course—different from me. I was in La Entrada, Honduras on a mission trip with others from my faith community. It was a time that was rich with emotion and learning. In spite of speaking mostly through an interpreter, connections were made quickly without all the fanfare and introductions that are often necessary in our culture.
I was on the school team and would be working with the children. When we arrived, we were welcomed with signs from the boys and girls in the school, and their teachers. Then, I was assigned to the children who would be with me during my time there. La Entrada is one of the poorest places in Central America, and as I moved through this space I couldn’t help but be acutely aware of how much excess I live with, while others have so very little. Just like in our own United States of America, poverty is not a work of fiction; it is very real.
It’s hard not to grow strong connections with these little ones, when they are so happy to simply hold your hand or draw you a picture. We walked through life with them every day and relationships grew exponentially. With my interpreter I read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, to my class. We connected over music while my friend, Glenn, played the guitar and I signed the words to a song we taught them. We ate lunch with them everyday and fell in love with these beautiful children who smiled up at us, in spite of the extreme poverty.
On the day we were to head back home, many of “our” children waited at the bus stop to see us off. Among them were two little boys I had the honor of walking alongside during that week. We stood there and hugged each other tightly, aware of the fragility of the moment, of eyes that would never see each other again, of memories that we’d fight to hang on to.
Esdra looked up at me. Then, he took a little, metal ring off his finger and handed it to me. It was overwhelming in it’s significance. These children have next to nothing—no “things”. With questioning eyes, I looked at one of the teachers I had gotten to know. She said to me, “You must take it. He is giving you the only thing he owns.” Even now, nine years later I cannot write or retell the story without big, love-filled tears running down my face. I felt broken in that moment, but completely whole.
Who’s given you a little silver ring—that “something” that was priceless and full of grace,
that thing, or non-thing, that moved you to your core,
that reached down and grabbed your heart and said,
“You have value.”
Who have you given that gift to?
This place where scraggly dogs and chickens roam the streets, where barbed wire and lush foliage are neighbors, where violence and love sit alongside one another every day, and where God exists in the moments of hope, changed me. And, I am grateful for that journey.
©2017 peace full home™/intentional living