There is one bag of mega-block legos here at the base. Every morning it goes into the back of the jeep and travels with us to the slums. Yellow, blue, pink, green. The hands of different children reach to play with the faded, dirt-worn colors each day.
Somehow I envisioned children in the slums to be different than children in America. I expected them to have so little they would gratefully take whatever they were given. I expected them to play together nicely. My bad.
For the third day in a row I found myself acting as a referee of legos, splitting up fights and saying no just like I’ve done a thousand times in my all-but-expired, Western, babysitting career. These slum children are hardened. They have a sinful nature just like anyone else. They fight and hoard, whine for more, and steal when they think no one is looking. They are vicious over their legos, over anything they can claim and call their own.
I should’ve expected this. I should’ve anticipated that children who are given nothing by the world, who are forced to fight for anything they have—they would also fight over legos. I should’ve expected that these children would not always be easy to love.
Self-generated pity for others can only last so long. I can feel compassion for someone because they have so little, but unless this compassion stems from the heart of a big God—who’s love will not run out for his children no matter how cruel or selfish their hearts become—then I will quickly become frustrated and impatient. This I can tell after only three days. I think it is going to take all of the four months for me to learn what it means to let God love his children through me. More than that, I think it will take a lifetime.
I pray as I rise in the morning, as I travel in the jeep, as I walk the streets of the slums, as I sit barefoot in the dirt with aging women, that God will be patient and diligent with my heart. That he will show me his love until it is channeling through my eyes, my hands, my feet to whoever he chooses to reach.