I have been thinking about the two orphanages that we have been going to a great deal. It keeps me up at night, wakes me up early in the morning, and steals my thoughts during the day. One of my main thoughts yesterday was wondering what the difference was between the two orphanages. There are more similarities than differences between them, so why is our family so attracted to the Holland House? The orphanages look the same. There are sweet, adorable children both places. Both are in need of volunteers, food, supplies, and attention. We figured it out. It is because of this woman.
She is the reason this orphanage feels the way it does. She is the angel living among us in every sense of the word. She has established the feeling of love here. She has blessed this home with her Christlike countenance. She makes all these children feel like they have a mother. She gets down on their level and plays with them. She never turns them away from her. She makes their food, gives them showers, brushes their teeth, washes their clothes and hangs them to dry, puts them to bed, and teaches them American nursery rhymes. She has taught them values and manners. She has an unforgettable smile. She is gracious and humble. She lives everyday of her life serving these little ones. She doesn't get a break. She doesn't have time to think of herself. She is content. She is as we all should be.
We have had our children memorize a hymn while we are here. We sing it everyday and I hear them singing it by themselves all throughout the day as they are coloring with the children and playing with them. I am not even sure they are conscious of it. These are the words...
HAVE I DONE ANY GOOD IN THE WORLD TODAY?
Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone's burden been lighter today because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there? Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansions above. Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and love.
There are chances for work all around just now, opportunities right in our way. Do not let them pass by saying, "Sometime I'll try," but go and do something today. 'Tis noble of man to work and to give, love's labor is merit alone. Only he who does something, helps others to live. To God each good work will be known.
This sweet women does what this hymn suggests every single day. This song asks us to
"wake up, and do something more."
It quite literally has been a "waking up" for us here. We have realized that we really do nothing on a consistent level to help anyone else. We have no excuse not to help. We have been blessed to live in America, have a home, employment, and everything we could ever want or need at our fingertips. The reason we haven't helped more is because, to put it bluntly, we are too busy taking care of ourselves. We are too busy with everything we are doing in our life to sit down and plan as a family what things we can do to help others. We always help at Christmas time. We donate to charities. We help when there is a need. But I am talking about something more than that. Something the children are truly connected with. Something they sacrifice for. Something they feel is a part of their life. I think that is the easiest way to keep teenagers in line. Having them always thinking of others. It will make it easier for them to not think about what they don't have and what they think everybody else has. Better hair, better at sports, a girlfriend, cooler parents, more popular. I think when we serve a reset button is hit in all of us and helps realign us back to where we need to be. Suddenly things that mattered so much to us go by the wayside and all we can think about it how we can help more.
Going back to the tone this sweet women has set at the orphanage. It made me think of what tone I am setting in my home. What would my children say the overall feeling in our home is? Really, Matt and I are the ones that set that tone. We establish the "feeling" of our own little family. I am going to be more aware of that.
Think back to a particular family member, teacher, leader, or coach that you had growing up who made you feel good about yourself or inspired you to be better. Think back to a person you knew who loved you unconditionally. They will always hold a special place in your heart. You are endeared to them forever. We have to earn that with our own children as well.