Reality only faded in and out for a brief moment last night as I walked up the hill after saying goodbye. After hugs, kisses and blowing more kisses, I eventually had to turn my back and walk up. I had to leave. If you know me well, you know I don’t cry that often, but nevertheless a few tears escaped my eyes. However, leaving with Dennis and joining Debbie and Sergio for the rest of the night felt like so many other weekends. Even driving to the states today was not quite ‘abnormal.’
But as I walked into the airport today and sat down outside my gate, it all sank in-the weight of the last days and the emotions that I had not dealt with (imagine that). I looked at my watch and thought about what they were doing—about to go to lunch—and thought about Becky with the boys. I saw the kids laughing next to me and running away from their parents. I smiled and looked through the pictures of the last days on my camera.
The last days at Casa Gabriel were sweet. I got to work as normal, but then the last two were spent just playing with the kids—just hanging out. I got to read with them, play with them, hug them, hold them. That’s not to say they all behaved miraculously perfectly—they still had their share of time in time out, but even then, it is an opportunity to love them more and to talk with them and to remind them afterwards that they are forgiven and loved. I got to pray with them and over them.
And now… I miss them so much.
Mother Theresa said that the paradox is this: if you love until it hurts then there can be no more hurt, only more love. Paradox indeed. Leaving behind my eight kids as well as all the others that I love so dearly that I didn’t even spend as much time with—I can’t even fathom what a mother must be going through to leave her child—what desperation she must feel. And my heart breaks for the mothers as well.
Nevertheless I praise God for the blessings at Gabriel House—for each of the precious children there, for all that He is doing and for all that He has yet to do, and I give thanks for the richness of the last couple days.