A dear friend asked me today how anybody can experience “M” and still go on about their daily life. How do you hold devastation in one hand and a peanut butter and jelly in the other? I’ve asked it of myself a few times since this all began- is the shock wearing off? Do I see it as a lost cause which makes me care less? Am I growing calloused? “M” no longer feels like a fresh wound but an old and lingering one. Like when you pull a muscle- the next morning you swear like a sailor but eventually it dulls and fades until you forget the initial pain of it and go back to putting one foot in front of the other, just like you have for years.
Here’s one small thing I learned during my own dulling and fading process: It’s given me the freedom to see things a bit more clearly. It took three visits to “M” before I could see that kids, even the sick and nameless ones, are still just kids. They play and giggle, laugh and sing. They delight in anything and worry for nothing. I took comfort in that. I still take comfort in that. When I look back through my photos, it’s surprising how many smiling faces I see- they’re able to find beauty in the midst of some very ugly ugliness. Thank God they can still laugh!
In my twenties I had loads of answers. Now I’m thirty-something and I deal more in questions than answers but one thing I feel sure about is God can redeem this place. And that soothes the sting from my first visit to “M”. It doesn’t erase my emotions over these kids but it does make room for more rational thinking about how we should help. God can redeem it. All is not lost.