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Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I lost my heart in Mexico
Last weekend, Billy and I went out to the neighborhood we visit each month. We take a team people out there and usually just play with the kids and befriend the adults. The neighborhood we visit is made up of mostly poor American families, but a couple of Mexican families are peppered into the mix, though we don't often see them when we go out there. This time, however, we got to meet the sweetest little nine-year-old girl. She was actually born in the US, but her parents were Mexican. I had the privilege of talking to her and her mom for quite some time, and I felt my heart start to beat again in a way it hadn't in a long time. There is just something so special and gentle about that culture... not to mention this particular story they were telling me - it would break anybody's heart.
The little girl started off by telling me that they were so excited to live in this neighborhood now because the last two places they'd lived had rats... big ones, she said, showing me with her hands spread wide. I simply nodded past the lump in my throat.
Then, I talked to the mom. She immediately told me that her husband was in jail, and had been for nine months. She speaks absolutely no English and her only income is babysitting for other Mexican families. I could only imagine how little they were paying her. I asked if I could pray with her, and she just started crying. Of course, I prayed in English, and she couldn't even understand, yet she was so grateful.
I asked them if they needed anything, and all she asked for were napkins. She was almost shy about it, as if afraid to ask for too much. I walked her over to our car because I knew we'd brought a few rolls of paper towels with us. I opened the trunk and saw that we had a few more things - water bottles, trash bags, and paper plates. I asked her if she would like them, and she kept nodding, eyes growing larger and larger. We found a shopping cart sitting around (don't ask me why), and Billy hauled the stuff into the cart and we walked it down to her house.
When we got there, she proudly opened her door so that we could bring everything inside. What I saw there just broke my heart. It was almost identical to some of the poorest situations I'd seen in actual Mexico. Somehow, though, with honest pride, she had put up lacy window-coverings and things were nicely folded and noticeably cleaned.
I walked away from her house feeling desperately overwhelmed. We have been going out to this neighborhood once a month for over a year now, and I had never felt this emotionally attached this quickly. The hugs I got from the mother and little girl were whole and sincere and just brought tears to my eyes. They revived the piece of me that I'd left in Mexico years and years ago.
I wish I could tell you that we were doing all we could to help. I mean, we are, but I feel as if it is not enough, because, frankly, it's not. Nothing we can do will release her husband from jail and get him a job stable enough to support them. We cannot move them from where they are. We can only love on them, which I promise we will. I will just have to settle with that, knowing that it's just not enough, trusting God that his heart beats for them even more than mine.