Some of you might have read my original post called “The Dichotomy of the Season”, which I wrote a few years ago as I struggled to reconcile the excesses of our holiday seasons with the realities of how many children around the world are hurting.
This last week, I had another experience which has caused me to deeply reflect on the inequities in our world, and I am wondering how everyone else comes to terms with this in their own hearts.
LWB was incredibly blessed to be able to win the Smart Cookie Reader’s Choice Award sponsored by Cookie magazine and CITI. Through this event, we received essential funding to sponsor many children needing medical care as well as general funding for our Heartbridge Pediatric Healing Unit outside of Beijing. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the staff of Cookie magazine passed my name to a new TV series which will air on a cable channel. This new show, which will air in July, surprises unsuspecting people whose families and friends feel they need a break from their work, and takes them on vacation.
Last Thursday, during what I thought was a small documentary interview on grassroots charities, I was surprised by my family and friends and quickly whisked away to Scottsdale, Arizona, where I spent three days doing things I never in a million years would have ever done for myself. Our activities included soaring over the Arizona desert in a hot air balloon, having a private meal prepared for us by one of Arizona’s top chefs, and being treated to an afternoon of art gallery browsing and then presented with an original ink etching. Not only that, but we were housed at our own private ranch, complete with pool and rock waterfall. Pampered doesn’t even begin to describe it, and so those of you who know me well know how very much I struggled with it all. Probably the very hardest moment to me was the massage, which was done at poolside. Oh I tried to relax….I really, really tried…….but the harder I tried, the more I pictured all of the faces of the children in China that I know are waiting for help right now. And the more I tried to clear my mind, the more the images burned brighter and the more ashamed I became that I was lounging poolside being “served” while so many children around the world are in need. It felt ……well…….not right.
I don’t want you to get me wrong…….this was a once in a lifetime trip that I will never forget, and we had so many moments of real laughter and fun. I loved getting to have so many new experiences, but I realized so clearly that what brought me the most joy was simply connecting with others. It was in meeting the artists and watching them work, in getting to sit and visit with the ranch owners about how their love story began on a dance floor, in being able to sit and talk on the porch with the production crew about the children in China after the cameras were turned off that I truly found my much needed rest. It wasn’t in the actual balloon ride; it was in being up 6000 feet with a dear friend laughing about conquering our fear of heights. It wasn’t in the actual meal by the chef (although it was magnificent); it was getting to talk with her and learn how she creates her new dishes and finds her inspiration. It definitely wasn’t in being filmed since that’s far out of my comfort zone; it was in driving our extremely kind cameraman to see his aunt and uncle in Phoenix and getting to hear about what he’d experienced in his work. The true gift of the weekend was in meeting new people, finding our connections, and forming friendships. Once again I realized that our lives on this earth were created to be shared. Life isn’t supposed to be done alone.
So all this past week I have been reflecting not on the dichotomy between those who have “stuff” and those who do not, but instead on the dichotomy between those who get to feel love and those who do not. My family and friends wanted this surprise for me because they care about me, and that is a gift I will keep inside my heart forever. But I continue to struggle with the knowledge that all over this world there are abandoned babies who cry out for help and no one comes, orphaned toddlers who lie alone in the dark, hearing the thunderstorm approaching, with no mom or dad to run to for comfort, forgotten children who look out barred windows and see families walking in the street picking up their children in love and who must then turn away to get ready for their day alone.
That is the discrepancy that is burdening my heart right now.....the disparity between those who are loved, cherished, treasured, valued.....and then all of those children who are not.
My hope when this new show airs is that it will help at least one person who watches it to consider adoption as a wonderful way to form a family. If even one more child can go from being orphaned and alone to being someone who truly knows love, then all of the cameras and wireless mics and being filmed (yes even while getting that massage) will be worth it all. I hope we can all take a moment to realize how truly blessed we are to have people in our lives who love us, and then take a moment to say a prayer for all of the children around the world who wait each day for someone…..for anyone…..to truly care.