I knew going to El Salvador would be a life changing experience. Praying before I left, I begged for God to not only use this trip as a way for me to help others but to change me in the process. While I'm still not sure where to go from here, what I need to do next, I do know one thing for sure:
Once you see something, you can't unsee it. It is impossible. And frankly, I don't want to unsee it.
I can't stop seeing Maria's despairing, unsmiling eyes. When I see Gabriel's face light up as he plays basketball or asks for berries, I can't help but remember that some children don't have that look of being well loved play across their face. Every child... every single child should know what it feels like to be loved and overly adored by their parents.
Walking through the grocery store, as I pick for the best peaches or request grass-fed organic beef I can't help but feel the weight of the food boxes in my hand as I passed it out to families living in Caoba. Those food boxes, the size of an American take-out container would be some peoples only food for days.
Scrubbing the tub and getting irritated that the water takes so long to get warm, I will suddenly feel ashamed because I saw the black water barrels. The water barrels that people filled and hoped would last until the water came back on next week.
Holding Gabe, carrying him into church, into therapy, around the house - sometimes I forget just how much he weighs and remember how light Carlitos and Ruby felt in my arms. These precious little children, if it had not been for the extreme love pouring out of La Grand Commission church, would go hungry. Yet still, with the church providing their lunch and snack during the week, they look too skinny. If it wasn't for the church they wouldn't have medicine when get sick, clothes and shoes when there's wore out or someone to teach them about God and play wiffle ball with them after lunch.
I have seen third world poverty. God help me, I've heard what we'll see in Ethiopia is worse. I have felt the despair emanate from the eyes of the hungry and seen the look of hopelessness flash across the face of a child who knew you would have to leave at the end of the day.
Quite often, I have to chastise myself for complaining about things that are "first world" problems.
Too much laundry? At least I don't have to wash everything by hand in a bucket. Dirty floors? At least my floors aren't made of dirt! Internt too slow? Blogger not cooperating? Gabe's toys all over? Gas prices?
These first world problems do not relate to real problems. Starving, lacking shelter, no access to clean water, living in an orphanage, homes washing away, having parents that can't provide for your basic needs.... these are real problems.
I've seen it. I can't unsee it. I wouldn't want to anyways. I just need to figure out where to go from here.
Yesterday I read this verse "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17 and felt convicted and liberated at the same time. Convicted to do something, liberated to know that I have the ability to do something.