One week ago today I stepped into a dusty place, a heady atmosphere and oh so vulnerable. As I drove from the airport that was swelling with faces as we arrived, I had so many questions in my heart about suffering.
Fresh from a season where I had seen grief first hand, I wasn’t sure whether my heart could possibly be broken again.
Can a heart that is already in pieces possibly break anymore?
My mind was replaying the recent loss of friends so close and I was unsure whether my weary heart could be revived again.
With dust filling our lungs, still falling as an after effect of the earthquakes, with a people who are so kind, (yet asking similar questions as my own) together we walked a little tentatively as we said Namaste, with heads bowed.
When you look in someone’s eyes, no matter the make up, the clothes they wear, the windows of our souls are exposed and together we exchanged questions without words.
Yesterday we drove for hours around rocky cliff faces, bumping and screaming as we saw the mountains demanded attention in the distance. I watched young children scamper up the dusty roads, dressed carefully in their school uniforms, hair plaited with refined perfection.
I breathed in
I felt deeply afraid
My fear was palpable and more than being afraid for my own life, I was afraid that I would come here and return home without any answers.
“No intellectual answer will solve suffering. Perhaps this is why God sent his own Son as one response to human pain, to experience it and absorb it into himself. The Incarnation did not ‘solve’ human suffering, but at least it was an active and personal response.” Philip Yancey
As we stepped out of our four wheel drive and walked up the muddy hill, an endless sea of little blue shadowed faces, showered us with bright pink flowers and welcomed us to their school.
We sat on their carpet, that had been sewn together over and over from little feet that tripped over its pile.
Stories of kids club meetings where they petitioned for climate change, they together went into villages and educated their elders about child brides, over and over they surprised me with their tenacity.
As I sat on the floor, my leg was aching and my heart was tiring and leaning back I saw a little sign on their wall and I got my answer.
You see every time we venture into unknown places, meeting people who place us on pedastools that are not warranted, we feel like we are the heroes.
There is something about our upbringing, our culture, our pride that gives us this unspoken status that we are the knights in shining mission armour.
As I sat there uncomfortable and dirty, I knew so deeply that these little warriors in front of me, the future doctors, the teachers, the presidents, as they walk up mountains for hours, with dust filling their lungs; they are the heroes.
So every time we reframe ourselves and our works to help another, I want to be reminded of that little classroom, full of personality and life, on the top of a mountain in Nepal.
I want to remember the mothers who are desperately trying to learn to read and write so they can keep up with their children.
I want to feel the discomfort when I listened to a mother tell me it takes her two hours to walk to get water for her household.
I want to help people know who are actually the heroes in our world.
They are not the movie stars, the presidents, the kings, the wellness warriors and social media gurus. The heroes of the world are those who get up again after being knocked down, the children who keep hoping after they have lost their parents, the mothers who sit in self help groups saving one dollar a month to change their families future, those who go for days without food, those who save strangers in the midst of disasters even when their own family is at risk.
Reframing who I look up to, who is my hero and I hope to remember that it will be the least of these.