I unpack them with awe every time. Almost a sense of reverence.
Bright beads blend into earth tones in the palms of my white hands. It was the precious brown hands that sent them here. Many, many precious brown hands. Hands I long to hold. Tears come as I run my fingers along the smooth sides of the coconut beads.
I gently hold a pair of bright red earrings. The color captivates me. Vibrant and beautiful – like the people who made them. And yes, they’re red alright, and us Canadians laugh at how boring we are and we joke that we really only wear brown and black. But, they’re breath-taking and someone breathed breath and sat in the red dirt to make these pieces of art. They sent them with a missionary couple over the big blue sea and now, here they are on my deck – waiting to be packed up, displayed, and sold to waiting ears.
Every penny raised keeps the children eating and the family going. It will educate young minds and care for their illnesses and nurture their souls. They have a home.
Nurture a Child Uganda. All the way over there in East Africa, they care for orphans and breath life and love into the hearts of children and every one they meet. Norah, amazing, brave, strong Norah – she’s only a few years older than me and she recovers from a C-section, cares for a newborn and houses more than 30 orphans. She assures me she’ll be fine, but please pray. I shake with emotion at her strength and the depth of her surrender. And here I am. Small. Humbled. Completely in awe of a pair of red coconut earrings in my hand and all these beautiful creations.
Yes, here I am. So far from that red soil. So comfortable, as usual. Here, where the leaves are turning red in chilly Southern Ontario. We are far from each other, yet we are one. Them there, me here – united by the bonds of love and the holy and awesome grace of God all powerful.
I pray with all my soul that my feet will land me on their red soil one day. That I’ll hold their babies and they’ll laugh at me as I try desperately to make jewelry as beautifully as they do. But until then, I have email and Skype and prayer. Desperate prayer. And I have this jewelry – made by hands across the seas. Yet, when I hold it, I feel them here with me. I close my eyes and fight back tears. Who made this piece? The one with the little heart beads. Everyone is captivated by the heart beads from the heart of Africa. Whose hands crafted this beauty?
What is she doing now? Will I ever hold her hands in mine?
I wonder how anything I do here can ever bridge the gap from wealth to poverty. How in 3 minutes at a community festival, I can convince the rich to stop and revel with me over the beauty that comes over the sea and how their one purchase can actually make a difference. How by buying a necklace, they could seriously feed five children for a week.
And I wonder if I’m doing enough. And I know I’m not. Always, always brought to my knees. Always broken. So in need of His grace, His direction, His hand on mine. Sometimes, I’m just a big puddle of mush amidst piles of earrings, necklaces and bracelets still smelling of the Ugandan heat.
I breathe in and stare at a tiny bead. Yes, the one shaped like a heart.
And there it is – so simple. So pure. The little heart from Uganda. Our hearts connect through God’s heart-shaped seeds. And every person who wears them wears a little love around their neck, their wrist, in their ear lobe… and all the way around their beating red heart.
Written for Five Minute Friday with the prompt, Red.