Today we took a group of kiddos from the Miriam Center to the playground built by Kimmy’s House in Bonneau. It has been a very hot day, and there was no shade available at the playground. Even the kids were affected by the heat and very few of them wanted to play. We had a couple water fights, but other than that, we mostly just hung out with each other. Was it a waste? I don’t think so.
This week, God has been teaching me the value of just being. So much of the time spent with the children has not been in organized games but in being near them, loving on them, and the occasional wheelchair race. At times, there was the temptation to feel as though I needed to do something more, but the smiles that lit their faces told me that that the love and attention was all that was needed. There is such beauty is being able to just be with someone, and they are amazing at it.
It’s becoming clearer that my worth and that of those around me does not come from what we do. God’s love is for all, regardless of productivity, activity level, or station in life. This concept is emphasized as I work with the children at Miriam Center. They are not productive according to the world’s standards, and many of them can’t even move their bodies on their own. Yet, they bring so much joy and hope to those of us who have the privilege of being with them.
They are amazing teachers about God’s love and people’s value. The amount of attention and one on one time they get is minimal, since there are so many of them here. It doesn’t keep them from loving on one another and us though. They let their personalities shine, smile at the drop of a hat, and love on each other in incredible ways. I have loved seeing how they reach out to their brothers and sisters to make room for each other and protect one another. Joshua, who is unable to speak more than one word at a time and cannot walk but crawls on the ground, shows God’s love so well. We had a movie night a couple nights ago, and Nicole (one of our team members) was lying on the floor in front of him. The whole night, he sat and rubbed her back or her head so lovingly. How often do I hold back showing love and focus on my own presumed needs rather than reaching out to others? He is a wonderful teacher.
The kids at the Miriam Center don’t see themselves as having less even though they struggle with crippling conditions and live in one of the most impoverished places in the world. Their thankfulness and joy is contagious. I need them. We need them. And their value lies not in their productivity but simply in the fact that they are beloved children of God and share that love with others. The same is true for me. The same is true for you.