I felt it the other night: my joy.
The muted phone stifled my squeal as I listened to Angela describe the hospital in Guatemala where we will be serving. She talked about the children with Cerebral Palsy, most of whom have been abandoned by their parents. She talked about showing them that they are loved through playing with them and touching them.
I jumped up and down remembering when I first started saving money for this trip. I was fighting a persistent thought: “I could be playing with orphans in Africa instead of writing this press release.”
That press release and a few more and now I can afford to go, not to Africa, but to Guatemala, a country already attached to great memories involving beautiful children.
I never dreamed the words “I’m going back to Guatemala” would leave my mouth. But they have. I am going back to Guatemala not to visit the pieces of my heart already buried there but to bury more, leave more of myself.
I’m going to be wrecked.
I am going to see a small piece of the picture God is painting—both in my own life and in the lives of precious niños with CP.
My heart has been broken by the moldy walls of third world hospitals.
Working with special needs kids in a foreign country makes me nervous. Communication across a language barrier is complicated enough; add alternative language skills and it’s nearly impossible.
But smiles, laughter, and loving touch are nearly universal.
They worked with the special needs children in Nicaragua who ran from estadounidense to estadounidense asking to be carried upon our shoulders, spun around, and bounced.
They worked with the hotel maid in China who cornered an unsuspecting teammate to blabber in Chinese about how much she appreciated our team’s kindness. The Lord through us.
It’s more than a feeling, more than a squeal, more than a moment.
It communicates more than words ever could.
Not just with hospitalized special needs children in foreign countries but with coworkers, family members, and friends right where you are.
Part of reclaiming my joy this year involves allowing the smile to take up residence on my face—even when it feels silly. Even when what I’m smiling about is silly. It involves letting the squeal out whether the phone is muted or not.
In what unexpected places have you found joy lately?
What are you looking for?