I woke up at 6:45 this morning, after only three hours sleep, body taut like a spring, my ears ringing from anxiety, ousted from a dream I can’t remember. I had no reason to be up, but I could not go back to sleep until I calmed down and the noise in my head gave way to silence.
I moved to a makeshift bed on the floor, inhaled deeply, exhaled slow, asked my body, one muscle at a time, to relax, drank most of a bottle of water, and whispered, “I’m grateful for the cool breeze, sunshine, my mother feeling better…” I began to read Kisses From Katie by morning light.
Katie lives in Uganda; at eighteen years old, she witnessed poverty and disease I can scarcely imagine, and fell in love with the children. She intended to stay a year, unexpectedly found she was home, adopted several girls, started a foundation, sends hundreds to school, feeds hundreds more, assists thousands in a myriad ways, and plans to stay in Uganda forever. She is twenty three years young and gives all credit to her Faith in Jesus. It doesn’t matter that our beliefs differ in major and minor matters. Her life is a message that feeds my soul.
This morning I read, “Today the anger is gone, though sometimes I still have to sit with the Father (God) in my sadness and brokenness over all the hurt in this world. Sometimes I have to cry to Him and ask Him why innocent children must suffer and beg Him to move people to action. Still, we as a family just love the ones with whom God has entrusted us as best we can. We let him hold us as we hold the little ones He has given us to look after. We do what we can do, and we trust Him with the rest.
“When I have a rough day, or several rough days in a row, as I did around the time Patricia* joined our family, I can easily forget why I do what I do. I used to repeat to myself, “Do not forget in the darkness what you have been promised in the light.” When my days are dark and difficult, I am tempted to look around and think, Why? Why do I do this? Why would I take one more child? Why would we live with less so we can give to others more? Why did I leave my family and friends to go to a land of strangers? What am I doing here?”
My days are not dark, the challenges a ripple on the water, the depths serene and content. I let Katie’s words, the ones quoted above and pages more detailing each person lost or healed, each child joining their family or returning to the same place where each grew so ill, wash over me like healing water. I lingered in a place of no thought, allowing her experience to be my prayer, a wordless inner letting go of the cryptic tension that had engulfed me shortly after dawn, and a ribbon of love connecting my heart to the lost ones the world over; those eventually found and the fragile ones left to die before anyone knows of their plight.
I did get back to sleep after reading a while, my hand holding the page open, spring birds singing remember and be thankful, anxiety creeping away like an unwanted ghost of pity, and slept as if the rays of the sun itself rocked me in a loving embrace.
*Patricia is an infant from Masese, a baby so ill, her family (who lived in a house made of cardboard), did not giver her a name. Katie assisted and coordinated Patricia’s care until she was a healthy child, then adopted her, with the family’s consent.