Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let's Do It

The generally disagreeable toddler has been speaking to my heart this week through her unprecedented enthusiasm for obedience. And her timing is interesting. My husband and I are preparing to travel to Rwanda this summer for a few weeks to meet with both victims and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. Although I have been making physical arrangements (childcare, shots, walking shoes), I have been purposefully reluctant to open my heart to any emotional or spiritual preparation. A stack of books has been collecting dust. The documentary from Netflix unopened for months.

I know enough about what happened in Rwanda to be terrified of learning more. Like Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, I want my heart to be broken by the things that break the heart of God. But unlike Pierce, I want to survive the crushing weight of sharing in the suffering of others.

Finally last weekend, we watched the first documentary on our list. Tears pooled under my chin to drip onto my shirt. I kept telling God over and over that I did not want to go after all. “I cannot bear this witness. I can offer nothing. I cannot even look.”

Monday I sent out an e-mail to a circle of friends who I knew would pray for me. Later that same day, Peanut, who spends an inordinate amount of time on her bed for talking back and saying no, adopted an all-together new go-to phrase. For a full week now, invitations to get a diaper change or clean up toys has been met with, “Okay. Let’s do it.” And where I used to carry her under my arm like a football, kicking at the family photos in the hallway, lately she has reached an eager hand up to mine.

So we have been walking quietly together. To her bedroom. Around Wal-Mart. Through the elementary school parking lot. And as usual, it seems to me that answered prayer is coming by way of the little people in my life.

So, I say, trembling but somewhat quieted, “Let’s do it.” And I reach up my little hand into a strong and warm palm.

“The Lord is my shepherd . . . he leads me . . .” Psalm 23:1-2

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