“Love until it hurts. Then love some more. The love of Christ led him to his death.” – Mother Teresa
Today was my first day at the Missionaries of Charity center. When I visited the center earlier this month, before deciding to work there, the volunteer coordinator, Hailu, gave me a tour and took me to every room in the entire Home for the Dying and every room in the Childrens’ Home across the street. There were probably at least 30 different rooms and/or places to work. Oddly enough, whenever I thought of the Missionaries of Charity center after my visit, I only thought of one room in the entire compound – a large room on the second floor, right side. It was really the only room that I even remembered well. It is the room with the severely handicapped kids – many of which cannot even leave their beds.
Today, I walked in and asked Hailu where they needed me most. He immediately led me to the back of the compound, up a flight of stairs, and into the very room that I had thought of so often. He told me that there were no current volunteers for the crippled children, because some of them are quite a handful. And it proved to be true. As we walked in, there was a flurry of activity in the physical therapy room, including children hugging me, spitting and drooling on me, and smiling at me. I spent the morning meeting the kids, walking from bed to bed, feeding the kids who were too handicapped to move themselves and then tucking them in for their afternoon nap.
What a challenge. I was writing in my journal last night that as much as I may claim to be all for Christ, my faith has never really been challenged to the core of my being. I haven’t ever really had to do anything difficult for the sake of Christ at all until now. I just love what I call “little whispers” from the peace of God straight into my soul – whispers like my constant picture of the very room where my help was needed, before I started working there; whispers like the fact that when I arrived home today, lo and behold, there was a program about the Calcutta Home for the Dying on television, presented by a woman who had worked there. I watched the program and felt a weight on my heart lift. The woman on the program kept saying, “One, one, one. If Mother Teresa had never picked up the first cripple on the streets of Calcutta, she would never have picked up the 42,000 others. Love the one in front of you now.” She always did talk about doing small things with great love. Love is about giving yourself fully to the one in front of you. These kids are lacking more than just food – they lack love.
I like thinking about Jesus taking the disguise of the lame, the sick, and the dying as I work with these kids. But though it makes the work meaningful, it doesn’t make it less difficult. I’m going to need a lot of prayer.