There are MANY things i adore about Travis and Melissa’s Los Angeles home, one at the top of my list is the beautiful way this city has brought all of humanity from all the far off lands into the same tiny neighborhood play place.
As a Mama and a Nama caring for 3 little ones + a deep thinking 11 year old my moments are too busy and weary to figure out what we as a country or our government should be doing in regards to the refugees being welcomed into our safe haven, this Land that we Love.
There are a few things i know with all certainty and that is where i have to make my difference.
I walked with the kids to a local park in Los Angeles, we were not there long before two adorable olive skinned boys approached me and my little charges. They asked to share Blessing’s scooter, it is motorized and it is cool. Blessing was delighted at the opportunity to make friends in LA and quickly cast her eyes to me for permission before she passed her scooter to the tallest of the brothers. Each boy had a skate board, they offered to share in exchange for the opportunity to speed around the concrete paths on Blessing’s purple power wheels. King’s was beyond delighted at the chance to “learn” to skateboard and was very intense about listening to whichever brother was not on the scooter at the moment but was giving skateboarding lessons. Before long i heard a female voice giving direction to the young boys, she sounded serious and was persistent as the boys did not respond….they had a motorized scooter with decent speed, this was too good to just lay down without at least one more spin. i could not see the source of the voice for some time, i believe they lived in a near apartment and she was perhaps speaking through a window. When mama did walk out to the play area my guess was confirmed, these little treasures who were sharing with us were of Muslim descent.
Here is the deal…
This sweet young mom was over the moon considerate and concerned for how her sons were treating my 4 littles. She helped me understand that there is an ordinance in this park asking you not to use motorized toys, therefore the intensity when her sons were speeding like fun loving little men around the paths. When i got a clue, understood and asked Blessing to put the scooter away, this robed beautiful lady made eye contact with me and said thank you no less than six time. She was hyper vigilant to “keep the peace”, to comply with the expectations of her community, to avoid any conflict on any level. i can not get this mama and her lot in life out of my mind, i have felt tears roll down my cheeks, my heart actually physically aches as i try to imagine the challenges of her daily life. i do not know the answers folks, i do not know about 10,000, or schemes and plots and infiltration and policies but i do know this…that mama needs to be loved. She does not need fear, she does not need her little boys to be shunned, cursed at, excluded on the playground and from neighborhood birthday parties. Me and mine have the ability to give her the gift of a smile, a moment of safety and acceptance in what must feel like the most vulnerable of situations.
This is all very easy to figure out on the swing-set, being kind is always the right choice, sharing and loving is not optional.
The next day Kings asked to play in the front yard. We most often play in the gated back yard because it is big, and there are oranges and avocados and toys and tables and chairs and sun+shade and it is “safe” because… it is gated. But there were gardeners next door and they had equipment and trucks and a four year old boy needs to see what is going on in all the big world. So Essie and i set up camp on the twister blanket on the grass easement (because i can see a long distance down the sidewalk from here) and Kings and Blessing and Rae ran and scootered and talked to the gardeners who did not speak english but had no problem communicating with our cuties.
If we play in the front yard for an hour i bet as many as 60 pedestrians walk by us in that 60 minutes. Some friendly, some cautious, some shy and some with eyes on devices moving quickly to the next business of their world. i thrive in this diversity and opportunity for relationships. i say hi to All, i smile, i engage, i hope to make a new friend and learn of a new world. This is marginally uncomfortable for my Blessing. While she is very friendly and outgoing, all the new and different and intense of LA is tough on her with her highly attuned sensory system and imaginative mind, she feels quite vulnerable, especially when neither her daddy or Travis are here. She came and sat next to me, she quietly asked if the people wearing robes were the same people we have been seeing in the news. She asked if i feel scared, she asked if i worry that a homeless man may need to hurt us because he is so hungry he just needs to get what we have. i held her and i stroked her hair and Essie pulled it, i prayed for understanding and words.
“i think i understand your fear, but our Jesus is bigger and He is worthy of our trust.”
You my sweet baby girl have suffered and lost on the deepest level already in your young life.
You have starved, you have lost both mommy and daddy, you were left to fend for yourself in a crib with a bowl of white rice when you were much younger then Esme, you were so sick they said you could not recover.
BUT…look at us, you are mine, and you are smart and healthy and strong and brave and Jesus did all that for us. You have suffered the worst and you have beat it because our Jesus is loving and good. You have nothing to fear girl, there is nothing that can touch us that you have not already felt and that our Jesus was not big enough to handle. She squeezed me a bit tighter and then let go and returned to her scooter, zig-zagging between the many faces who would be our friends for the moment.
I will teach our girl that love is always right, i will teach our girl to put others before herself and to turn the other cheek when that brings her pain, i will teach our girl that we have nothing to fear, ever… because we are loved by the one who rules the hearts of kings.
i am thankful i do not need to make world decisions and write policies and decide when to declare war. It is all so simple when you are on the swing set and each face is simply another of Christ’s precious children needing to know and feel His Love.
My charges are all abuzz and we need to be off watching for the next neighbor who needs a smile. I bet we will be blessed.
Besides, i clearly have dropped the ball on caring for this angels hair.
How i spend my moments and treat those in my little world really is the place to effect all the change i dream of for The World.