The first time I saw her, the solemn look in her eyes flooded my head and heart with questions–
Was she really as sad as she looked?
Was she just camera shy?
Is she happy?
Does she know she is chosen?
Pinki Roy has been waiting for over six months for a Compassion International sponsor; is it silly romantic notion to believe no one chose her because she was destined to be mine?
In ten days I invite you to journey with me to one of the most impoverished cities on the planet, Kolkata, India. That is where Pinki lives along with two siblings and her parents, and if all goes according to plan, I'll get to meet her, to look deep into those chocolate eyes and somehow communicate my illogical love for her.
I'm sitting at Smoothie King, sipping on a $4.69 Angel Food smoothie, and I'm trying to reconcile the irreconcilable: the price of my drink is almost a week's worth of wages in Eastern India. That bewildering thought fills my eyes with tears and I'm thankful this place is small and maybe no one notices.
As much as I've tried to prepare mentally…spiritually… emotionally…physically for this trip, can I really prepare heartfully?
This trip is outside my comfort zone. Let's start with the 15 hours in a plane; a tiny tin can suspended above the clouds with the security measure of a floatable seat cushion and the convenience of a toilet. Security and convenience–I have nothing to worry about…
…except for the risk of exotic disease and the potential for my stomach to erupt like Mt. Vesuvias WHEN I'M NOT NEAR A BATHROOM (keeping in mind my shy bladder and even more reclusive bowel) and temperatures that may as well be boiling to this spoiled, air conditioned Southerner (already 100+). And I'm traveling with strangers, and not just strangers, but STRANGERS WHO CAN S A N G, and I don't sing, AND DON'T TELL ME TO MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE BECAUSE THE SOUND THAT COMES OUT OF MY MOUTH IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT JOYFUL TO THOSE STANDING TO MY LEFT AND RIGHT.
I'm not even sure what that encompasses, but I think it will involve an exchange…
- of love (not just giving, but receiving)
- of preconceived notions (I'm rather certain it will unravel on its own accord without regard to my colorful imaginations)
- of agendas and "need to know" (instead, goin' with the flow and a heapin' of "whatever")
- of who I am (for who I'll be)
Compassion's work to release children from poverty isn't just tired rhetoric; it's not administrative cost heavy and service light. The way they work through local churches with a holistic approach to treating the "whole" child is altering history one life at a time. I can't believe the opportunity we'll have to observe this work first hand, in order to tell you the stories of lives impacted by Compassion.
Lives like Pinki's, and as a result, the rest of her family's.
And maybe, just maybe…those somber, serious eyes of her will be smiling when I meet her.
Would you consider sponsoring a child now? When I checked, there were 20 children from India alone awaiting sponsorship (clicking the badge takes you directly to children in India, but there are children from all over the world waiting for someone like you to find them.). Should you decide to sponsor, please, let me know. We shall dance a little happy dance together :).