I have a friend, I have only known her for a few years. She is faithful and always committed to spending time with me. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t hear from her. I have learned so much from her and I have grown because of having spent time with her. And although faithfulness is a wonderful trait and I have become a better person because of having known her, I can’t say that I enjoy her company. She is a real pain! Her name is Fibromyalgia.
Pain, intense pain…everywhere…all the time. Most days it is bearable, but some days I want to run from it. On a scale from one to ten my pain is usually around a three or four, sometimes it hits a nine and on those days I find myself wanting to escape my skin. No matter the level, pain is always demanding my attention. Often I find it difficult to concentrate, and other times I am able to dismiss it. For a moment, usually when I am busy, my mind tunes out the pain. But when I am quiet and still it is always faithful to return. Most nights when I lie down to rest, everything hurts. Pain often demands my attention and sometimes robs me of sleep. In those moments I usually write….:-)
I started singing in the church choir. I had not realized how much I enjoy being a part of a worship group. Seven and a half years have passed since Eden was born and I stopped leading worship at the Mexican church. Getting involved again has been especially fun for me because I am stretching myself. For so long I have sang lead or invented my own harmony which I am discovering is a combination of both the alto and tenor parts. So now I’m learning to discipline myself to sing & read the alto line, simply sticking to the notes which are written.
I love singing alto! It is so much more interesting to me than the soprano line. It is especially challenging, because I don’t actually hear the alto part in my mind like I do the soprano one, so I rely heavily on reading the music and then tone matching with the other altos. This at times can also prove challenging as our tenor section is very strong and they stand right behind me. Sometimes I find myself voice matching with them instead.
At any rate it has been great fun to begin singing with a group again.
Our youngest is becoming quite the painter. Following in her fathers artistic footsteps she creates abstract images which cause those of us who are less artistic to ask “what is it?” The other day she entered the kitchen and asked if I would like her to paint something for me. I eagerly agreed. She then asked me what I would like for her to paint. Trying to encourage her to paint something a bit more concrete, I responded “How about some flowers?” “Which ones?”, she responded, “Would you like me to paint these roses?” I agreed. “If I paint these I would paint them blue” she said, making reference to the blue roses in Alice and Wonderland. Then we both went about our day. Later, while I was in the garden, she came to me with a huge smile on her face. “Here’s your rose!” she said. Then she handed me one long stem rose whose petals had been completely covered in blue paint.
Working with abused and neglected boys is a bitter sweet calling. There are some boys who are grateful to have been rescued from the hell which they were living in and yet there are far more who are bitter, angry and ungrateful, acting as if they have been snatched from a loving family and home. It is a truth of our work that only those who have experienced will truly understand.
There is a hardness which comes after having suffered abuse or having lived on the streets. I think it comes with self preservation. Even the littlest ones have learned all to well the “tricks of the trade”. They have learned to manipulate with tears as they lie behind your back, or worse yet, lie to your face. Even the most enduring, sweet soul can be caught on camera sneaking money from the office change box or overheard telling someone that you hit them or don’t feed them. My husband has been spit on, bitten, punched, lied to, lied about and taken advantage of more times than I can count. And yet he faithfully works on their behalf, with the hope that they could come to know Christ and breaking this vicious cycle of abuse.
From the time I was little I had a heart for the underprivileged. Growing up, I volunteered at soup kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters. In highschool I led work teams at a local rehab shelter and organized food & clothing drives. I have worked with the deaf and handicapped. I taught special education and excelled at reaching pre-teen boys with behavioral issues. But nothing adequately prepared me for this!
I often say that this work is not for the faint at heart and that you certainly need to be “called” to do this. It is difficult to keep perspective when you live day in and day out with these blemished souls. It is also very humbling to give your life for the welfare of those who rarely appreciate you, who often think you are against them or who will turn on you in an instant.
And yet when all is said and done, I know that these guys have a great opportunity to know Christ as Savior and be set free from the hurts of their past. I know that because we are here, they have loving arms to hold them, a safe place to sleep tonight, clothes to wear, food to eat, the opportunity for an education and medical care. I know that because we are here they have hope for a better future & hope for eternity. And that makes the bittersweet, seem just a little bit sweeter.