I pulled out the note and read it again.
“Sandy, I love you so much. I pray for you. Please come to me. Please give me hope.”
Oh, Sophonie, don’t you know that Jesus is your only hope?
I’d considered not going back. We’d had a busy year, and I was feeling my years, and there was so much to do and so many needs right here at home. And the holidays were coming. And winter. And I was tired.
But the orphans had had a hard and transitional year, too. I was pretty sure they were tired. And they had so many needs, not the least of which was to know they mattered, that they were—are—loved. That someone else (like me) could set aside their own needs for a week and go to where the need was greater.
And that’s how I I found myself at the airport in Nashville, Tennessee, again this past December, dragging heavy, gift-filled, yellow-taped duffle bags to Delta’s check-in counter. It’d be my fourth year of joining a team headed for Haiti to carry Christmas to an orphanage. We were going to be Jesus with skin, to carry a little winter hope, to tell the story of hope, and to hopefully tuck a little dose of hope in little hearts. I didn’t know how much hope I’d carry home in my own heart.
Many of the children I’d loved on before were gone. We don’t know what happened to all of them, but some had returned to families, and others had aged out. Some of the older ones had moved to transitional homes such as the House of Hope and the House of Grace, but we didn’t know the whereabouts of some. All the members of my previous little “posse,” including 14-year-old Sophonie, remained though, and I was able to connect with some new kids as well.
There’s a “big mama” and “big papa” now who live on site and help supervise the house mamas and other workers as well as lavish love on the orphans. In fact, the kids didn’t seem quite as clingy this year, as if they felt more secure. The cooks prepared food in the new kitchen and set out huge bowls of rice for lunch topped with hunks of meat in place of a thimbleful of beans.
And then there was Ray. This was his first visit to the orphanage, and he informed me he was two years my senior. Unbelieveable! I lost my standing as the oldest team member. Ray took time to listen to and encourage everyone. He did everything the rest of us did, though he did pass on the climb down the rocky path to the beach on our morning off—which I suspect I might be wise to consider since I do tend toward klutziness. He also dressed up like Santa on an 80-plus-degree day and personally greeted each of the 150 children as they were called to receive their gifts.
Yes, life around here has been busy lately—even a trifle chaotic, and I’ve been feeling my years. But it’s folks like Ray and the creative later bloomers that Debra Eve celebrates and Louise Trotter whose 91-year-old fingers still fly across her harp strings (I get to meet and learn from her in May) who remind me that even though I’m turning 67 this month, I’m not yet “fully baked.” They give me hope that I can still have several more fruitful years of serving with a purpose—maybe even with a little wisdom—ahead of me. And I’ve already signed up to return to Haiti in December.
Note: The word of hope in this graphic was created out of recycled oil tin drums for Vibella Jewelry by a Haitian artisan. Vibella brings healing to their artisans, families, and communities by giving them hope for beautiful lives of purpose. When I look out through the window at the winter landscape, this piece of metal art reminds me that hope for a purpose sits at the forefront of my own coming winter years.
How are you feeling as your approach the later years of your life?
Connect with me
Latest posts by Sandra Heska King (see all)
- How to Face Winter with Hope - January 25, 2016
- ROCKABYE BABY - December 8, 2015
Subscribe for updates!
Join our mailing list and be the first to receive the latest news.
Look for blog posts, podcasts and and an occasional newsletter, and all of it is fashioned for wise women.
Sandra you do bring hope to me… I say no more often than I say yes these days. I hope to go where the Lord leads and not let my nos get in the way. Because that is where hope lies. And blessings too. That letter, those words would be hard to turn away. Happy Birthday Sandy!
But sometimes our no’s are our best yeses, and there’s hope in our no’s as well. I hope for the wisdom to use both those words well. And thanks for the birthday wishes. 🙂
Happy Birthday, Sandy! I’m glad to see you writing again – you’ve been missed – oh, but what a wonderful experience you had in Haiti! God richly blessed those children through you, I just know it!
Happy birthday Sandra, from Sandra! I love that we still are able to do things for Jesus, even me at 70. Next week a friend and I are starting a sing a long at my sisters nursing home. It will be so fun to be back at it again. That was my job for years and now I can pick my days and go whenever! HOPE from Haiti hamgs my wall too! Glad you’re back. Wish to go back to Haiti again myself!
Martha… I know God blessed me through them! It’s good to be back. Thanks. 🙂
Hi Sandy! It’s nice to see you here. 🙂 You encourage and inspire me, too! Don’t you love this metal Hope?
Thanks for the shout-out, Sandra! What a lovely piece. May we all have many more years to serve with purpose!
Thanks for stopping by, Debra. And yes, I’m with you there. 🙂
Sandra I love the way you find good in the chaos. Thank you for this encouragement about aging and finding purpose in our fall years. You are a beautiful soul and I’m crazy about you.
I love that we’re crazy together. 🙂
Sandra, what a treat to find your words here and to know that you have been experiencing grace in such measure!
Thanks so much for swinging by, Michele. 🙂