I remember standing in a sea of little, beautiful Haitian girls. All of them reaching and tugging and grasping at us, as we prepared to help lead them in fun games, arts and crafts, and prayer. I remember standing there and feeling completely overwhelmed at the amount of love these girls had to give. These waves of love happened so quickly. There were so many little voices calling out in French and arms pulling me back and forth, that for a moment I felt completely lost. I didn’t understand. I was a stranger. Could someone this little love so boldly?
After a moment of feeling lost in the language and commotion, a little girl tugged on my hand and pulled me down to her level. “What is your name?” she asked, in perfect English. When I looked her in the eyes…I cannot express the amount of beauty I saw. She truly hit me like a ray of sunshine. In an instant I felt as if I knew her, as if I’d known her forever.
I answered, “Emily.” When she repeated it, with such awe and excitement, it was like hearing my name for the first time. And when she smiled at me, I had never felt so truly loved. It was like she knew me, as well. And all the craziness around me was no longer overwhelming, but made perfect sense. The beauty and peace of that personal encounter with that little one would not have been as powerful without it.
She kept popping up everywhere, and every time I caught a glimpse of her I felt that same peace, and this honest desire to just love her and to let her love me. I saw Christ so clearly in her. So clearly.
Towards the end of the week, she gave me a drawing she had made. It had two hearts and two French words within them. With the help of a good friend, I learned that the words meant, “You and I.” She pointed to my heart and then back to hers.
I will never forget that little girl and the way in which she loved me. We never spoke a word to each other, yet her love surpassed so much of what I thought love needed to be. I thought love needed to be understood, but she knew a love beyond all understanding. She knew Christ’s love and she let that love flow from her heart so freely.
Lately, I’ve been at a loss for words. I feel like I’m in that sea of Haitian girls again and I’m overwhelmed with love and completely lost at what the Lord is doing, all at the same time. There are waves of unexplainable grace, waves of deep suffering, and waves of profound joy. I want to yell, but I honestly have no clue what will come out of my mouth, “Help!” or “Thank you!” Or maybe both? Probably both. I think it’s easy for all of us to be lost at sea every once and a while. But it’s important to remember that there is always a little Christ tugging at our hand, reminding us who we are. And that we are not alone.
I pray to be like that little girl.
It was hard to love in Haiti. But this seven year old loved anyway, she loved through her hardships. She loved despite the darkness.
As of late, it seems to be hard to love throughout the world.
That is why we must not love like “everything is bubbles and daisies and popcorn and easy!” Though I do love popcorn, I think we need to make like Mother Teresa and love until it hurts, because that is where love becomes real. That is where love is beyond all understanding.
I think we need to tug on more hands, to draw more hearts, and to say more names. We need to live in gratitude for the storming sea and in thanksgiving for the opportunity to be pulled down and embraced by Christ in the midst of it all.