Monday, April 3, 2017

Lessons from Children

Have you ever noticed that when children are given a lemon, they almost invariably make lemonade?  It’s true!  Just watch the kid who gets a toy he doesn’t want but makes something even better out of the box.  The children of Haiti are no different than children anywhere else in the world when it comes to just this.

Today our team was reminded of how beautiful spending time with children can be.  We started our day touring a church referred to Jeremie locals as The Sanctuary.  This church has been under construction for 27 years and is still, for the most part, a mere shell of a structure.  We walked around examining the architecture and enjoying the view completely unaware that while doing so there was a choir practicing in a distant, unseen corner.  Just about the time we were thinking “Let’s get out of this relentless heat”, a young man shared with us that the choir wanted us to come in so they could sing for us.  He escorted us to their practice space and before we knew it, there we were standing in front of about 40 kids, beautifully dressed, faces beaming, all eager to share their love of music with complete strangers.  This group of kids, without any instruments or even a proper practice space, sang a rendition of “How Great Thou Art” that practically brought us to our knees.  Their voices and their heartfelt spirit, not an organ or guitar or special acoustical this and that, was all that was needed to create such beauty we nearly wept.

Later in the day we moved on to the Sick and Dying Babies Clinic to hold and play with the babies and toddlers receiving care.  This is where a team mate came upon a little boy who was very restless and agitated.  He seemed to want to be held but when she held him he seemed to want to get down.  And, of course, when she put him down he started to cry.  What did this kid want?  Luckily, she persevered and eventually found the key to the puzzle.  It was the tickle machine!  This wriggling, unhappy child giggled and laughed with such straight from the belly gusto that his joy spread to our entire team making us all laugh along with him. All it took was two fingers and a tickle-tickle.
As wonderful as these two examples are, I saved the best for last.  Our tour guide took us to an area once known for its immense beauty but now features struggles and despair.  But is there more?  A group of children approached me, one little girl with a lollipop in her mouth.  She asked me to pick her up and right after I did so, she bit the lollipop and promptly shared all the pieces with her friends.  They were delighted!  And I was delighted to see a child sharing what little she had, without reservation, with those who had less.

It was a good day.

Beth Simms