These words continue to linger in my heart and burden my soul...
As our Muaz becomes more comfortable with us, he often shares about his mama Medina and life in Ethiopia. I count this as a precious blessing for us - for him to remember & for me to learn of the life he was gifted with in Ethiopia.
I once asked him what 'mama' liked to do and he quickly responded "she worked - she liked to work". When I tried to dig deeper to find something else, I was burdened by the reality that all she was able to do was work (all the time) just to be able to feed her children (sometimes). She had no luxury of free time or 'hobbies' - she worked. So, in his 7 year old mind, 'she liked to work'. From what he has shared, she worked until it was dark outside and came home in time to cook dinner (when there was food to cook) and then they went to bed.
He recently shared a story that was by no means profound in its content, but revealed something beautiful in its meaning. 'Mama' would sometimes come home from work for lunch and Muaz would go home for lunch (from school) each day in hopes that mama would be there. This was a very special treat because she worked so much, he did not get to see her much. Often he would wait for her and "she did not get to come home, so I couldn't see her." When I asked him how that made him feel, he said "sad, I miss her". So I asked him if he told her that he missed her and he said yes. When I asked what 'mama's' response was, he said, "She just kissed me & hug me".
I have had the priviledge of meeting mama Medina, but have not known her except from piecing together her character from the recollection of the son we share. From what I can guess, she was often quiet, of few words and thoughtful...she was affectionate and taught him to love well from loving him well...worked very hard for her children & yet it was never hard enough...
I can picture very clearly the look on her face as she heard his words and felt them pierce her soul - I imagine she longed for time to love her children. So, instead of saying a single word...she kissed him...what a beautiful picture of her love for him.
I do not know the burden of devastating poverty...my cupboards are full, my children are healthy, we drink clean water, we live in a home with locks on the doors and a roof that does not leak over our heads. I have the great priviledge of waking every morning and spending every minute of every day with my children. I feed them (until they are full, every time they ask for food), I play with them, I hold them in my lap & sit next to them on the couch, I educate them, I am the last person they see before they go down for a nap and the first one they see when they wake up, I dry their tears and laugh with them until our bellies ache. I have always counted this a priviledge, but have become keenly aware of this precious, precious gift since learning of life in Ethiopia and the joys/sorrows of mama Medina. She may never know that she is molding my character - she is teaching me to appreciate the 'togetherness' that at times can be overwhelming. I have often stepped back in a moment of chaos and felt the cry of her heart (to have so much togetherness that it becomes a challenge would never have been a priviledge of hers) & humbled myself before the Lord in thanksgiving for the life He has gifted me with.
One last thought - when he shared that story with me, I immediately thought of Mary in Luke 2:19, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." I wonder how long mama Medina pondered the fate of her children in her heart before making the ultimate sacrifice for them...?