Sometimes I think that our family is way different than the people we are meeting here in SA. We come from different cultures, enjoy different foods, speak with different accents (or different languages entirely), etc. I feel like our kids are different too. Lots of kids here don’t wear shoes and they are fearless as they run into the ocean and dive through huge waves. Our kids, on the other hand, cry if the cold water even threatens to touch their toes. I actually can’t help myself from giggling when terror fills their eyes as the cold ocean meets the sand near us. It’s all new and I know that they will get used to a lot of what’s happening around them, but I imagine they will always be a little different from the children here.
The other day Kenny and I visited kid’s club in three of the communities that Living Hope serves in. We joined club in Red Hill toward the end of the morning as they were getting ready to do craft time. The younger kids had simple coloring sheets and the older ones were coloring, cutting, and pasting their art together. Midway through their time I saw one of the younger girls crying. This is not a super uncommon thing in club so I wasn’t alarmed. Maybe another child took her crayon? Or was being rough and hit her? Maybe someone called her a name? Or maybe she was mad because she wanted to sit somewhere else? I didn’t know.
But what I did notice is that she wasn’t even trying to color. Her coloring sheet was blank, and it was folded in half. She just held it helplessly as she cried. So I got a new sheet and sat down next to her. I offered her my new unfolded blank coloring sheet and she traded me for hers. She looked up at me, stopped crying, and got to work coloring Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
And it hit me. We are not different at all.
This little girl is my girl.
Her anguish over her imperfect paper is exactly the anguish we experience with Avery any time her brother scribbles on her work or she colors outside the lines. I can’t even tell you how many times she’s had to start a coloring sheet over because it’s not perfect enough. She would have done the same exact thing in Red Hill that day if another child had folded her paper.
As we giggled and colored I found out that the girl’s name is Mercy.
Mercy and Avery are not so different. I think they could be friends, defending each other from the wild and free scribblers in the room.
So I have work to do as I start to learn how not different we are from the people here, or anywhere in the world for that matter. We may come from different backgrounds, but we are all loved by a big God who isn’t affected by culture or language. His love is the great equalizer and I long to see His children (including the 3 that He’s entrusted to us) through His eyes. May this event mark a shift in the way I look at the world around me.
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…