Sometimes my life seems like a series of goodbyes. Wherever I go, I become attached and never stay long enough. Our time in Sri Lanka came and went to so fast. As I said goodbye to the children at Samudra Sri, the children’s home, I realized that although I may never see them again, I will never forget them. They did not seem as needy as the Indian children. They were more shy in general and harder to get close to. Maybe we just needed to reach out to them on a deeper level. They really seemed to respond when we did.
I had so much to do before leaving tonight but I just had to spend some final time with the kids. I went into the boys dorm and hugged and tickled them. Ravindu wanted to just hang with me. Chamarra would not leave my side. The kids began to give me gifts. When the others saw, they all wanted to give me something. They have so little that I felt terrible to take anything from them. I knew that they merely wanted to give to me, however, and to not take their gifts would’ve hurt their feelings. Most of them gave me a little plastic animal. One little guy gave me his toy car. Ishara gave me a pen. Others gave me sea shells that they had no doubt long collected. Then at the very end, little Chamarra, not wanting to be left out of the giving, gave me his box of crayons. I’m crying as I think about how much this touched me. These little guys have nothing in this world but the people who love and care for them at Samudra Sri. I was so afraid that I had not taken the time to get close to them while I was there but in my final moments with them, they showed me so much love through their little gifts. It makes me weep.
Lord, care for these children. Help us to tell their story in a way that is vivid and powerful. May their stories touch and change lives. May each and every one of them grow up to know you. Lord show them your love. Though their parents and everything they knew was taken from them by war, the tsunami, poverty, death or for any other reason, may they always knows that You are their Father.
Leaving the children tonight was more than just another goodbye. It was a sad departure. I wrote on my profile that the thing I was least looking forward to on this trip was having to say goodbye at each place and this has truly turned out to be the hardest part of the trip. How do you answer a precious little child who with a pleading look in his eyes, asks, “You go to America, then you come back to Sri Lanka?”