Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Only so much

It's hard to understand the helplessness at trying to help someone who is truly oppressed, truly hurting, truly poor. To try to tell someone about a Jesus that loves them when they are so lonely.

You might remember Lakshmi, who helped us around our house in India. She did so much, and she was our friend. We left her, heaping upon her our linens, pots and pans, mattresses, food, more than she could possibly fit in her tiny home. It broke our heart to leave, knowing she'd never find another job that paid as much as we Americans could pay her, and knowing that even that wasn't really enough.

It broke our heart to hear through a friend that she had left, knowing her home was the only way we knew to find her. With no email or phone, how to do you find someone in one of the world's craziest cities?

It broke our heart to hear more about her situation - that her husband, who has never been kind to her, and lets alcohol get in the way of providing for his family - sold the vegetable cart we bought for her, so she could make some money.

It breaks our heart to realize again and again the uphill battle that women like Lakshmi face, and to realize that there's only so much we can do. That love and compassion aren't enough in a world so broken. That fixing one problem takes so much, and still leaves so much undone...

I hope that the impossible-ness of it all never quenches the love and compassion that God wants to offer through us. I hope that our broken heart never turns bitter. I hope that our faith persists - that God always has more love to give, more forgiveness to offer, more power to provide.

I hope that there is so much more we can do.

(I just spoke to Lakshmi on the phone. A friend helped Ben get in touch with her, and though it still hurts to know how much she's hurting, it does give hope to hear her voice, and we are so thankful for friends that love her in our absence.)

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