Dear kids of the Berea Home in Thailand,
You just get it. I can’t really describe what “it” is, but you get it.
I can’t say that this first week in your homeland has been easy. I’ve had to tackle with my own crises of privileged guilt and culture shock, which have stripped me down to my core and left me out to dry in the humid Thai sun.
I just wish we could spend more time together in a day. Little do you know, every minute from the moment I wake up to the moment I leave the house is spent looking forward to seeing you at 4:30. When we leave the house at 2:30 in the afternoon, we walk to the taxi station and ride the backs of the trucks from Chiang Mai to Doi Saket. In Doi Saket, we wait for your bus to pick us up at a meeting point. The bus takes us from the meeting point deep into the forests, and an hour and a half later, we’re with you, in your home. Every second of that 90 minutes is spent itching with excitement; waiting to have you fold into us, with your small frames drawn to our arms, hands, and centers like magnets.
Before meeting you, I was particularly excited about one certain thing: I wanted to see the way you love. Every culture and lifestyle has a different way of showing love. I’ve seen different ways of love in places like Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, each different than the last. Yet each has their own magic. Your love was just as special, real, and beautiful as any other.
Your love is shown through your togetherness. “Togetherness” being different than unity or community. Almost none of you are related by blood, but it’s so clear that you care about each other so much. You each have your distinct strengths and personalities, and that shines through quite clearly. With your strengths, you work together as a team. You are each your own, but you are your own with the help of each other. You teach each other and you learn from one another. You create a human foundation for one another. Being together makes you strong.
Being able to play tag with you, jump rope with you, play cards with you, tickle you, draw with you, laugh with you, eat with you, be with you — each of you have shown me wealth. Your lives are affluent with laughter, support, learning, and love. It’s your humanity that deems you wealthy. It’s being alive that makes you rich.
I admire every single one of you with my entire heart.