Today’s word is heartache.
This is a two-part blog.
Today, part one, I want to tell you a story. I want to give you a glimpse into a reality that is far removed from the one we are living with Jake. I want you to experience just a tiny glimpse into an achingly tragic tale. I want your heart to break as you listen to this story of injustice.
“It was a moment unlike any I have ever experienced. These beautiful children, these precious souls, were clamoring for love. You could see it in their eyes, you could feel it in their stares, you could sense it in their presence. And as they looked up at me, begging to be accepted and treated with dignity, I couldn’t help but weep.”
It was about 18 months ago that I had the opportunity to travel, along with a few other people from my church community, to rural Guatemala. We experienced first-hand what true poverty looks like, and it was devastating. It is a vicious beast, attacking individuals in many ways, stripping them of opportunities, of dignity, and of respect. It is a destroyer of hope, a degrader of persons.
In rural Guatemala, few are more prone to degradation than those with disabilities. For me as a mother of an amazing little boy with a disability, this was heartbreaking.
One of the days that I was in Guatemala, we spent the day at a school for children with special needs.
As we walked into the school and watched as the children poured out of their classrooms and congregated around us, I wept. It was, as I quoted above, a moment unlike any I had ever experienced.
I cried with and for the teachers as I listened to them share their hearts. The teachers at this school want desperately to help their students succeed, but often feel they are swimming upstream. Between the lack of resources, their lack of training, and political tensions between the government policies and life “on the ground”, they often find themselves discouraged.
I ached as I listened to story after story of hardship, of hopelessness, of sorrow, and of pain. Stories of children who can only make it to school once a week because their families do not have the bus fare to be able to send them more often. Stories of children who are mistreated or abused at home. Stories of children who’s only disability is their inability to hear, but are placed in a special school because there is no one who can help them function and thrive within the regular school system.
I left Guatemala with a heavy heart as I contemplated the future of these beautiful children.
I haven’t stopped thinking about them ever since. I haven’t stopped considering how I can help, even in a small way.
Tomorrow I want to share with you the way I desire to do something to play a part, albeit small, in this story.
Also, if this story resonates with you at all, READ THIS BLOG!! It was written by my wonderful friend Natalie. Her and her husband Shawn and their three children are living in Guatemala, working with this school (and doing about a million other things at the same time). This blog entry has haunted me since the day I read it. She is a phenomenal writer and shares my passion for this school and for these precious souls (okay, probably more accurately I share her passion!).