January 1, 2016
It rained on New Years Day and it felt like a miracle. After weeks of Harmattan dust filling our lungs and covering everything with its filthy film, the brief shower felt like pure oxygen. But even more beautiful than the cleansing of it was what the rain was falling onto: the faces of 25 orphans filling my home. I had almost postponed the party the night before, wondering what I was thinking to try to pull together a last minute party when event planning is so not a strong point for me. But I just felt it needed to happen: as I wrote to the orphanage director,
“go ahead and plan to send the children on over . . . It might not be the most perfectly planned or organized party, but we will all have fun, I think. I have water balloons, popcorn, and chocolate milk ready, at least: what more could a kid need? ;-)”
Sure enough, it was not the perfect party. I had the children sit on old drapes in lieu of picnic blankets (and the reason for the picnic being that it was the fastest solution to the fact that I waited too long to make purchases of things like kid-friendly dishes). The children drank chocolate milk out of washed peanut butter and instant coffee jars, and ate cake from their hands (granted, not a bad prospect for most kiddos!). Two belts tied together turned into a game of tug-of-war that my husband ingeniously turned into an all-kids-against-him extravaganza. A lack of dishes turned into a count-teddy-bears game.
But thanks to the help of a couple of good friends (who had only been summoned the night before as we rang in the New Year together), the party logistics came together. All the smiles were big, and genuine.
This year has been, in a word, heavy. I’m not sure why that is the word that came to me as I thought of this year as a whole . . . but that’s what it is.
The rain that fell today was a light rain. And as it fell, it washed the layer of dust off of our world, brightening it all. So as if a word was being spoken to me from He who speaks the Word, I felt as if there was a promise in the year to come. A year of lightness, and brightness: may it be so.