There I was with the sun shining in on me. Buckled in the green Ford next to my dad, while the truck bed was filled with gifts. Driving along the interstate until we encroached upon our exit. The little town was not like ones I had been to before. It was run down & a bit dirty. Kids holding up their box of colors, urging passerbyers for their need of Chicklets. Young & old, all there waging to be heard.
We eased our way between filthy white booths as my dad spoke, "Hola..." and trailed off with his bilingual tongue. On our way down the "strip" in this small Mexican town, Algondones, we took the first right. The paved street would quickly become a dirt road making me feel like "we weren't in AZ anymore."
My little seven year old heart took it all in. Vendors impeding the sidewalks with their merchandise. The meat being shaved off for tacos, beautiful off-white tablecloths kissed with blue or pink flowers. I looked through the window into their eyes wondering, "Where did they live?," "Did they have kids like me?," "Would they have enough money to feed their family?"
I've been told by my mom, that when Jim Tucker (the missionary from Mexico) came to church to talk about the needs of the Mexican children, my little heart would be tugged. I went home with a sense of urgency; as I began putting all my toys into a box. Desperately I told my mom, "Here, they can have my bed," which was my most beloved of treasures. Strawberry Shortcake canopy bed.
Not too long, I found us at the little white building--Iglesia. My bold little body felt timid. My language different, my skin different, but I spotted a girl. Kids know that skin & language are minor barriers to friendship. Shy at first, but laughter ensued.
My dad greeted the pastor. I was always intrigued with my dad's ability to flow with such ease between English & Spanish. He opened the bed door & there were boxes upon boxes of toys & clothes. When the little girl saw all of it, it's what you imagine Christmas morning should look like. When the pastor saw it, his eyes spoke in pre-Babal words. Gratitude & blessed.
This little seven year old heart had been filled. I realized a secret that day, which would continue to haunt my soul. When we make room to give, we are actually the ones who get to receive.
...And that whispering secret has been haunting me again & I invite you to join me in a series I plan to unfold in the next coming days.
One Year Ago: Beet, Fennel & Avocado Salad