Latitude and Longing: Thankfulness, Awe, and Hope

A couple of weeks ago I was having coffee with my love and we were talking about marriage and family and dreaming about our future and he said to me, "I've never told you this before, but I've always had this vision of you as a mother where you are in a foreign country, and you are kneeling down in the dirt, and you are surrounded by other women and you have your baby swaddled to you."  The statement kind of took my breath away.  It's one of those things I've struggled with... how my identity would change if I ever had children.  People freely tell me that I will have to give up this life I know and love and trade in my passport for one with a house and littles and a mini van and soccer practice.  And here sits my love across the table from me and says that he sees it differently.  "Besides," he points out, "you already drive a mini van."

This life of mine, this journey I'm on, it takes my breath away at times.  It leaves me in awe and there are times the only thing I can do is drop to my knees and offer a quite prayer of thanks.   And what I imagine when I picture his vision is me kneeling to these women and thanking them for inspiring me every day.  It is an honor to work along side them.  The teach me what perseverance looks like. They show me what true survival is.  In them I see tenaciousness and creativity and strength.  But the thing I see most of all is hope.  Hope is such a powerful tool.  Even a small glimmer is enough to fuel a fire!

I show up every day to this job because I want to be able to serve these women in ways that continues to nurture their hope.  Because they have the strength and tenacity to survive.  Hope helps them thrive.  Over the last two years of working with our women in Nairobi we have seen them go from being quite and meek and not looking us in the eyes, to running and embracing us as soon as we walk in the door, whether its been 1 day or 1 year since we were last together.  Creating products and taking the CWOW training gave them hope, they tell me.  And it continues to do so as we continue to be able to go and provide training and support.  They can feed their families, they can afford their rent, they can send their children to school.  Most of all they say, they are proud of their work.  It is important work, they tell me.  They are proud for their children to see them do this work. And every time we meet they are excited to show me what they have created.   I am excited to share with you over the coming days what they are working on and continue to share their stories with you.  I am humbled by their strength and beauty and I gladly kneel beside them, and thank them for making my life rich with beauty and experience, thankful they allowed me in close.

It would be my dream some day to kneel beside these women and girls with my own daughter, so she may see what I have seen, and know the world as I have gotten to know it.  Grateful for its many blessings, even the ones that are dressed up like hardships and look difficult.

“We subscribe into God's unlimited plan when we kneel in humility, live in grace and reach-out in love”
― Ikechukwu Izuakor