All of my body returned from Ethiopia, but part of my mind and spirit remain there. I am awestruck by the heartfelt and beautifully written posts my fellow ONE Moms and Mums have published throughout our trip and since we’ve returned. It is like watching a group of adept double-dutch jump ropers move in and out of the whirling ropes. Now the ropes are swinging for me, and it is my turn to jump into the gyre. I hope that I am up to the task.
Each member of our delegation experienced a phenomenon at one point or another during our journey. We knew it was happening when one of us would burst into tears or become noticeably overtaken with emotion while trying valiantly to suppress the external manifestation of it. Other times it was subtle, such as goose bumps, and perceived only by the one experiencing the revelation. My friend and fellow ONE Mom, Kelly Wickham, describes so poignantly and viscerally her experience of watching Ethiopian dancing for the first time. In her post, she references the observations of Cathleen Falsani and a quotation that captures the essence of what I’m describing so perfectly:
“Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or put a lump in your throat—they’re the signs that the Holy is drawing nigh.” ~Frederick Buechner
My friend and fellow ONE Mom, Christine Koh, relayed her experience when the young girls participating in the Population Council’s Biruh Tesfa (which means Bright Future in Amharic) Program sang happy birthday to her.
I had several resonant moments during my trip to Ethiopia. The one I’d like to mention now is the one that happened during our first site visit to the Mary Joy Center. Several of the moms on our trip have written about this special place. Here’s one such post by my friend and fellow ONE Mom, Asha Dornfest. The children of Mary Joy quite obviously worked for weeks to prepare for our arrival. They sang, danced, juggled, and tumbled for us. They hugged and kissed us, held our hands, and stroked our foreign hair. In my backpack, I had a bag of my children’s picture books. As Maya Haile sponsors 11 of the Mary Joy children, I asked her whether the center had a library for me to donate the books. She asked me if instead I would give the books to one of her benefactors, Fatima. I said of course, and after Maya pointed Fatima out to me, I kneeled down before the precious little girl and handed her my bag of books. Fatima could hardly believe her good fortune. We sat down on the tarped ground and investigated the contents of the bag together. Maya flipped through the selection books, put What Does It Mean To Be Safe? on the top of the stack, and asked to take our picture. Cradling Fatima’s shoulder in one of my hands, my book in the other, and gazing into the eyes of this ethereal being who essentially rescued Fatima from a tragic existence, I gained a much deeper understanding of what it means to be safe. I experienced a resonant moment. I publish children’s media with meaningful messages. In that resonant moment I gained a clearer understanding that our messages have global applicability and impact and that we need to reach children all over the world so they have the opportunity to explore these subjects with the grownups in their lives. I’m working on how best to do that. Stay tuned for details.
In the meantime, I encourage you to pay attention to your own resonant moments. And allow them lead you to do great things for others.