Friday, October 17, 2008

They'll break your heart if you let them...ah, but don't you let them.

That title is a line from the old James Taylor song, "You've Got A Friend". I am old enough to remember when that song came out and for some reason I have been hearing that one line in my head for the past several days.

Loving others is the most wonderful thing in life. In the Bible, Jesus said that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. Along with the joy of love, comes the risk of pain. Pain; when those that you love disappoint, hurt or leave.

This blog is not about the romantic kind of love....I am referring to the love that has resulted from opening my heart up to hundreds of kids in Kenya. Loving these kids has taught me the true meaning of love and has transformed my life. It has also made me vulnerable. Moms worry about their kids...they want them to be happy and safe. When my kids are hurting...I hurt too. It's all part of what comes along with loving others.

Now, people that know me will say that I am a "glass half full" kind of girl. I mostly choose to look on the bright and shiny side of things... believing that people are good and that things will just work out right. When it comes to the street kids in Kenya....I really believe that most of them just want a chance for a normal, home, family. Like that Field of Dreams movie line, "If you build it, they will come."....I came into this work believing that if Oasis of Hope provided that chance...that every single kid in need would gratefully come and their lives would be magically transformed into something wonderful and they would live happily ever after. Ok....I know that is a little (ok, a lot) naive. Happily ever after only happens in storybooks and movies. Real life is; much realer!

First of all, there is this little thing called "Free Will" that God gave us....and sometimes it works against what is best for us. Everybody else can see that we are making a really bad decision. In fact, even WE know that we are making a bad decision...but, we do it anyway.

This past week brought some really disappointing news.... 3 of the kids that I love very much have been making some really bad decisions. One, has been choosing to sneak out of his boarding school and hang out with friends on the street for days at a time. Another, after years of coming to the Children's Centre...was finally given his chance to go to school....and now he is getting into fights with his new classmates almost daily. And the hardest of our boys in a group home...who has lived in that home for over 3 years....packed up his stuff and ran away last Sunday and we don't know where he is.

My first reaction is always shock, "I can't believe that they would DO that!"....but, then I stop and think about how many teenagers in America make equally bad decisions....even after growing up in loving families their whole lives. Sometimes I forget the lives that our kids at Oasis have had....watching parents die at a young age and fending for themselves on the streets. I realize that I often don't understand the depth of the damage that has been done to their emotional well-being.

And then there is the whole "teenager rebellion" factor to take into account, as well. Sixteen year olds all over the world are busy breaking the rules, I guess. It is a natural part of the growing up process.

So, as I sit here, half a world away, I am frustrated and sad that I am not in Kenya when these things happen. I want to sit with these boys and find out what is going on in their heads. I want to go out and look for our missing boy myself and hug him and encourage him to come home. But, I trust Geoffrey and the staff of Oasis of Hope to do these same things. I used to get all worked up and my heart would break every single time...but, I have learned that these dramas work tend to work themselves out.

In the meantime.... all I can do is pray that they will be safe. I believe in the power of prayer to change lives. I'd really appreciate it if you would take a moment and join me in praying that Elvis will get serious about his High School studies, that Silas will settle into boarding school and control his temper and most of all...that Edwin will come home.

I'll keep you posted on what happens....




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