I cry as I type this because even six years ago I didn't understand the gift and honor my mother gave to her father before he died. The gift of touch.
For our team, this word - touch. This action - touch. This everything - touch...is what our days have been this week. It's the connection that we can all give to one another so freely - to put a hand on a shoulder to tell someone we are here, to give a hug, to kiss a forehead, to give a fist-bump - it's a universal and beautiful human experience. There is no language barrier to touch, and no special skills needed to make that easy connection.
Yesterday we traveled west to the Home for the Sick and Dying adults. I think we all wanted to believe that this home would be filled with the elderly - dying after fulfilling a long and beautiful life just like my own grandfather. But it wasn't. There were also teens, and young mothers and fathers who came to this place to be loved and cared for before they go to meet God or even for their own miracle of health to happen. As a non-medical team, I think many wondered what our calling was to serve at here - but it became clear quickly - it was to spend time with them - rubbing their feet, their arms, their backs - holding their hands and just touching them with our love, our hearts, and our hands.
My mother taught me well with how she honored her father. How we can all learn to honor those who need us most in such simple yet profound ways.
This happened again today as we visited the elderly that Healing Haiti supports in the greater Titanyen community. They didn't ask for anything except our time, our love, our prayers, and our touch. We washed their feet, rubbed their hands, and lifted them in songs and love.
We visited an orphanage after leaving the elders. It was a place some of us visited last year - and it was a favorite because of the joy of the children. I told a story tonight about how I spoke to my mother last year after leaving these children that day - and she reminded me that someone else was right behind me giving them love and hugs. I held that close during this year apart - and she was right - they did have love all year, but yet - they remembered our group and the songs we sang! It was a wonder indeed and I know I will see and hug the beautiful children again someday.
I think we all need to remember that we don't need big gifts to make an impact - we just need to give a touch or a hug or some extra time with someone to let them know they are not alone ever in this big world. We need to let them know that for that moment, that minute, that hour - you are everything to them - and are in full service to them through our simple gift of just being human.