14 Nov All The Good
I’m heading back to India soon.
My own kids are going to be in Maine for the holidays and I am not. So if I’m not going to be with them, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission. Spending Christmas with any children is fun, but at an orphanage with 70 boys and girls who I now love like members of my own family…there is a special kind of magic in the air. Whatever I can do to increase that magic for them only makes my own holiday spirit shine brighter and brighter.
It’s been nearly three years since I stumbled, sick and feverish, through the Mission gates, and in that time, the children I’ve met there have radically changed my perspective. I now spend a good deal of my creative thought and energy working for them and on behalf of orphaned or abandoned children worldwide. It is work that fills me like nothing I have ever done. Rescuing a child forgotten and unloved in the world offers a satisfactions that no Emmy statue can ever hope to provide. I know that much. It’s the kind of calling I’ve always hoped to find in my lifetime, and I feel beyond lucky to have found it.
Even so, I get some criticism from time to time. It’s rare, but I heard it again on Facebook just the other day.
When I speak before American audiences or write something online (including this post, I suspect), the complaint goes something like this:
Why don’t you help American kids? There’s plenty of need over here too, you know. After all, this country raised you, educated you, protected you. Don’t you owe it to the USA to use your skills for America first?
I’ve had the opportunity to answer this question many times, and I usually say something like this…
Why are our hearts touch by one thing and not another? Why are some people drawn to protect animals and not immigrants? Or the environment and not the homeless? For reasons only the heart knows, we are called in different directions. We simply feel for some causes more deeply than others. And if your cause is American children, well…that’s fantastic! They need champions as all children do.
But my heart, without apology or doubt, is drawn to orphaned and abandoned children in developing countries. Maybe it’s because they are the least valued, lowest status humans on our planet. Maybe because their need is so great and the resources directed towards them are so small. Maybe because they have no voice and I like to talk. Or maybe it’s just because they are cute as pie to me.
Whatever the truth…I see them. I love them. Their faces, their stories inspire me to be better, to do more. Helping them helps me. When I give to them, I receive. Which is how answering your own true calling works, I’ve found.
And so I ask: What do you feel called to do? What images fire your compassion and urge you to act? What is the still small voice inside your heart whispering to you? Perhaps if we each answered this unique call in our own personal way, all the needs of the world would be met. Maybe that’s why we are all called in different directions. Maybe that’s part of the plan.
Melting glaciers, hornless rhinos, wounded veterans, dirty water, stray dogs, frightened refugees, crushing poverty, forgotten children. Our world, for all its beauty, is broken; a shattered mirror reflecting all the critical places in need of care. Our job then is not to fix it all. Our job is just to pick up a piece, any piece, nearby or far away, something you love, something that’s worth fighting for.
Then, as John Wesley, the Methodist reformer from the late 1700s once said: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
For anyone like me who finds inspiration in the faces I’ve included in this post, I want to end with an easy way to get involved. It’s a little fundraiser I’ve put together. $29 buys a child at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission a Christmas to remember. If your heart is calling you to act…here’s a small piece that might be worth picking up. If nothing else, the video on the other side of the button below should brighten up your day.