Sometimes the need in front of me is so great I can hardly keep it together.
It’s deep in the center of your gut; it’s like all the feelings and emotions and hope and despair are turning your insides into jello. Your jaw clenches as if that will hold the tears behind your eyes instead of letting them escape into being seen. The weight of need presses on your chest; you can feel your heart aching and your breath comes in little gasps and you fight with all you are to not let your face reveal the chaos going on inside. The smile must remain; the looking, the eye-to-eye contact without flinching or turning away or letting anyone see what the chaos of seeing injustice and despair and hopelessness at the same time as seeing resilience and hope and joy does to you.
I’m no stranger to need, to poverty, to going without, to hospital conditions that make my stomach retch and my blood boil. Seeing those things a hundred times doesn’t make the one hundred and first time any easier. I’m glad of this; I never want to become one of those hardened aid workers that is unaffected by the reality they live in, so I can say as painful as it is I am glad I can feel because it means I am alive.
But it doesn’t make it easier either. As I reflect on the last few weeks, on visits and people and places, I feel the weight of need… and honestly, I don’t get it. I don’t get how God can see that kind of thing every single minute of every single day and not do something about it. I don’t have the answers and I can’t explain it. And I also don’t have to get it. But I do know that he knows, he feels every emotion that I feel and he sees every need and knows the number of hairs on every head of every person I met and treasures every tear I cry for that place and those people.
What we do feels like a tiny drop in a really big bucket. It is. But the thing I continually need to remind myself of, with all my tears and hopes and power and courage and strength, is the unfailing truth that eventually, no matter the size of the bucket, enough drops will eventually fill it.
And the sun rises on a new day.