It happened like this:
1. Went to Guatemala last Summer
2. Got messed up at an orphanage
3. Wrote an article about the experience and shared it in exchange.
4. Emily Wiggins asks for the article and some pictures.
5. Emily sends it to Buckner.
5. Buckner Magazine arrives today with the article and picture.
Here is the full writing:
God, I was surprised to see you there. I know that you live with the overlooked and ignored. I guess I had forgotten. I forgot that you live behind locked doors, brick walls, and barbed- wire fences.
I saw you sleeping in the dirt. I wondered what made you so tired. I saw you fighting with the other girls. You were angry. You were hurt. You were across the courtyard. And next to me. You were everywhere.
You came up to me and wanted a hug. I was uncomfortable. I saw your scars. Your eyes told me that your mind was not working right. Your matted hair made me wonder if you had lice. You smelled. My mind thought of a way out. Maybe I could just ignore you and you would go away.
Instead, I gave you a hug. As I did, I noticed a strong odor. I wondered when you had last bathed. I felt shame for my lack of compassion.
I painted your nails. I asked you questions and heard your stories. You were abandoned. You were not like everyone else, so they sent you here. You were beaten. You got pregnant. You were abused by your step-father, and others. Slowly your stories erased the scars I had seen. You became more beautiful. My repulsion was replaced by shame, anger, and a resolve to right the wrongs that had been done.
Later, I noticed that you took the polish and were painting my daughter’s fingernails. She came to paint yours, but now you were painting her nails. Looking at the two of you, I became frozen in the moment. Your experiences are worlds apart, but in that exchange I saw the God of the universe, who lives among the ignored of the world, holding the hand and painting the nails of my daughter.
I wondered if she knew what I knew: That this dirty orphanage may be as close to heaven as we have ever been.
Related post: Guatemala 2008