As I pulled out the last bit of my garden last week, I thought about the abundance of produce that had nourished my family all summer and the wonderful times that everyone had enjoyed in the garden. We spent hours every day, helping our seeds to grow, keeping the weeds from overtaking our fragile seeds as they grew into strong plants. We gave our garden the best chance we could to succeed and then we got to reap the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.
I am realizing how much our gardening life parallels raising children. We nurture tiny seeds of joy in our children, and tend to them to protect them from harm. We rejoice as our children grow into strong adults and are able to care for themselves. We reap the pleasure of their company and watch as they continue the cycle of joy.
I am going to Ethiopia very soon. My friend Becky and I are going to visit some of EOR’s partners and we have been given the opportunity to do some simple projects with the children at some of these organizations. I am both thrilled and heart-broken at this chance.
I am thrilled because I love children and I care about the causes that we support. I want to visit with these sweet little humans and get to make them smile.
I am heart-broken because I cannot do enough for them. I cannot nurture them in the few hours that I interact with them. I cannot possibly reach them all.
So my job is simple. For these children, the seeds of joy that we spread are wildflowers. We spread them far and wide and know that after we leave, those seeds are on their own. I won’t get to tend to this garden. I cannot protect those little seeds from the weeds that encroach. I don’t get to see them grow strong.
But wildflowers are resilient. They grow in the most unlikely places and bloom at the most unusual times. They may become part of someone else’s garden. They may thrive all on their own. Perhaps they will find other wildflowers and grow together.
I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the orphan crisis. I am aware that for all my good intentions, my contribution is merely a drop in the ocean. But it is MY drop and as long as I am able, I going to keep on spreading those wildflowers and hope that some of them take root.