When I was a teenager, there was this book of photography published called A Day In The Life Of America. I was fascinated by it when I saw it covered in the news. The publishers asked hundreds of photographers to gather up all this film and for a one off, 24-hour period to go to their favorite spots and subjects and catch a glimpse of America in action – from sea to shining sea. And the compilation of photos was remarkable. So many different people doing different things in different places all on one day, and yet all of it American.
You can imagine.
I found a copy of the book in a used bookstore a few years ago and bought it for like $3. And a couple days ago, I had cause get it out and look at it again.
But now I live in the flurry of activity that is The Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners. I see that the flurry is not mere activity, either; it is full of meaning. Meaning and pain. And sacrifice and LOVE.
There is so much to do. The little ones are all in diapers. So we begin each day with changing those. The feeding gets underway, which also creates enormous mess. Some sit up to eat in high chairs, some sit at the table, some take formula from bottles. All are nourished, and the nourishment is an event. A party! A party that leaves a mess in its wake.
We have play time, nap time, bath time, doctors appointments, parental visits, inspections, consultations, continuing education courses. Sometimes there is day care, other times widow ladies come and rock babies. Toys are strewn everywhere. The kitchen is cleaned three times a day! Did I mention diapers?
And there are prayers.
I think daily of the ones who came and went. Where are they now? We loved those little tykes, but most of them will not remember us now.
I am haunted by two of them particularly. The one that was so disruptive and chaotic (a very small psych patient who suffered abuse I cannot imagine), and the behavior was so out of control, that we sent that one away. Anywhere but here – oh… my heart hurts for that one. And then the one whose abuse was so severe that the tyke flat-lined in the hospital twice, and yet upon living with us for several months seemed to recover miraculously. But then the judge sent that child back to the parents who killed it. And I am still in shock over it more than a year later.
And even the happy ones have stories I am not at liberty to tell. But each one has a life. A human life full of drama and hope. And I see Jesus in all these little faces, yet I help to form Jesus in them as well. And I am run ragged every day with it.
But then when bedtime is finally achieved, and the tears give way to slumber, I thank God for this place of LOVE where so many find help for their broken lives. And when my nerves get raw (which they do) I pray that God let me back into the PARTY he is hosting at this house (His House) where he lets me live. Where his presence makes all the difference, if anything does.
May the servant be prepared for the Master’s return!