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In a Faraway Land
In a far away land there are children. Being born, living, and dying in filth. Their clothes are tatters, their feet bare, faces barely covered by skin stretched to tight over bones, eyes wide and yellow, pained by hunger. You can count their ribs through their papery thin skin, decorated by open sores, even the insides of their small bodies wrecked by worms and diseases. These children are dying.
In this heat; this red dirt and green grass; beneath this sweltering sun. They are suffering and dying in this far away land. They are starving.
You can pick up these children with one arm, they are so light. But no one will touch them. They are dirty. Street children. Orphans. Disease ridden pests that clog the streets like garbage on an American Freeway. They are tossed aside as easily as a plastic candybar wrapper. Useless.
I stand among them like a giant; tall, pale, and strong amonst all these weak, starving children with their skin like ebony. It's the most beautiful color, I think as I look down at them with their small bodies and precious faces. I wish my skin matched theirs, so that no one would question me when I picked up a child and hugged and kissed them as my own. So that no one would question us when she ran to me crying "Mommy!" But as it is, I have to fight for my child. I have dream of her from a far away land where we live with cupboards full of food, and luxuries we do not even realize we have so much do we take them for granted. In this far away land that I must reach one day, my child starves. She dies in the dirt where I cannot reach her. It's madness, this desperation that seizes me. I have to find her; I have to find a way to make it to that far away land and help her. But I can't. Very time I try people stare at me as if I am crazy. Worse than that; they laugh."
"You're too young," they say, pitying me for my foolish heart that they attribute to my youth.
"It's too dangerous over there!" they say, not understand that I do not care.
"You could do some much!" they say, thinking that what I am meant to do is nothing, only because they do not wish to do it themselves.
"Wait," they say.
But I cannot wait. Haven't I waited long enough? Hasn't this year been long enough? I am growing older, and so is she. But for her, every second counts. In her world, in that far away land, there is sickness, danger, and lack of food. My little girl could be dying of AIDS and not even know it. She could have HIV, and being dying slowly like all those other children, far away from me where I could help her and save her with the medicine that is so easy to find here in my world, but is so scarce in hers.
"Wait," they say.
And I want to shake them. The love I have for her does not extend to them this time. I want to seize them in my hands and shake them until they beg for mercy. Wait? How can I wait. You do not ask a mother in the hospital to wait to see her newborn; you do not ask a mother to put down her child in the lion's den; you do not ask a mother to leave her child with a total stranger. So why do you ask it of me?
Is it because my skin is a different color than hers? Is it because we have never met? Is it because I am young and you do not think that I can love her like a mother? Or is it because you do not care?
You do not care what happens to all those children; you do not care what happens to mine. She means nothing to you, so you do not care. But she is everything to me, and I care. I love her; I will care for her, if only you will let me. But you say "Wait."
I've waited long enough. I won't wait any longer. I'll fight my way if I must; you cannot stop me. You will not keep me from my child. I have waited; lit candles, said prayers in the dark, knelt in tears. But no. "Wait." You say "Wait" but you are not God. I'm doing waiting. The candle in my hand at night, lighting my face as I say my prayers, goes out after a time. It has only so long to burn. I cannot wait. What if the flame goes out? What if I wait, and she is not there to find anymore? I have to find her now; God will not let me wait. He says "Now." My heart says "Now."
The candle burns now, hot and bright, illuminating my fingertips, a comfort in the dark. I like to hold it; it gives me something to hold my attention while I pray. I like to imagine that I can see her in the dancing firelight.
I scan the crowd of dark faces staring up at me, but I am looking for a particular face. A face that I know is watching me, waiting for me to find her and scoop her up in my arms, out of the dust, and hold her safe from the dangers of the world. She's waiting for me to comfort her and love her.
My arms are aching, longing for her weight and her warmth. My heart pounds, threatening to tear in two as I search in desperation. I cannot find her among the children. All the little faces stare up at me with a mixture of longing and pity, and I remember that they need mothers too. They wish that my arms were open for them, and that I looked for their face among all the others. I do not mind sharing; I love all these children, and I wish my arms were big enough for all, just like my heart. But right now I need to find the one child that God told me to find. The one little girl that is more special than all the others, even though I don't know why.
I look around, one last time. But I cannot find her.
I start to wake in my own bed, still half asleep, surrounded by a sea of covers, not the sea of faces that I dreamnt of. The tears roll down my face, hot and salty, tasting bitter on my lips. And my arms are empty. I am in a far away land, so far from my little girl, where people laugh when I say she is mine.
I will find her. They can laugh; but I will find her. I've waited long enough. The dreams won't stop until I do. I know what God is telling me. I know what he wants. And I will find away. I sit bolt up right, calling her name, my heart pulsing in my chest, pumping the blood that will give me the strength I need to find her.To find my little girl. My daughter.