Life is crazy. Completely, absolutely crazy. People are crazy, school is crazy, work is crazy, preparation for the summer is crazy. Customers are crazy. Coworkers are crazy. Rooming is crazy. The Nepalese are crazy. Relationships are crazy. Thinking about next year is crazy. Planning my degree is crazy.
But life is also beautiful. There is so much good in my life. This world is beautiful. Serving is beautiful. My God is beautiful. My future is beautiful. My children – my sweet, sweet children at the orphanage – are beautiful. Friendship is beautiful. Love is beautiful.
In the midst of chaos and insanity, I hear a still, quiet voice telling me to be at peace. A voice that tells me that this is not all there is in this world, that there is more to come. It doesn’t say that it will be easy. In fact it promises that it will be difficult. But it does tell me that I will not be alone. There will be more craziness to come, but there will also be more beauty.
More beauty came into the world earlier this week. The orphanage added a new precious face to its ranks in the form of an infant girl born at 1 a.m. on Saturday (so about 6 p.m. on Friday night in America.) While I was taking orders and serving drinks, a woman on the other side of the world lost her struggle to survive but in the process managed to bring a life into the dry, difficult world that is the Luapula province of Zambia. The father is a “runner.” Before Saturday was over this little girl was in the safe, protective arms of my friends in Zambia. I was able to speak to sweet Jasmine the day she came to the orphanage. I don’t have all of the information yet, but Jas reports that she is healthy. Yesterday the surviving family members met with the Morrows and I assume more medical information was provided. I’m sure I will hear it about it soon.
(Photo credit to Jasmine Morrow)
The Morrows named her Lily. I like the name Lily. I’m not sure why, but it sounds so sweet and gentle to me. It sounds like spring, so it’s a name fitting for a baby born at the end of April. And like spring, she is a new life, even as a family mourns the ending of another life. Lily represents hope and redemption and loveliness in a world that is full of death, darkness, disaster, and suffering. And that is beautiful.
I haven’t met this child, but I love her already with all of my heart. There is nothing that makes her any more important or beautiful or special than any of the other millions of children in Africa or the rest of the world, except that I am being granted the opportunity to know her, care for her, pray for her, and love her.
If my math is correct, Lily will be just about Jessie’s age when we arrive at the orphanage in a few weeks – maybe Jessie’s age exactly. She is not Jessie’s replacement; no child can replace our Jessie. It’s more like she’s Jessie’s sister - another child who needs to be loved. We will love her in a way that is different from the way we loved Jessie, but we will love her just as much.
So yes, there is beauty in the world. There are more important things than grades, drama, money, loans, work, and school. There are Lilies in the world, and Eliases, and Queenies, and Nathans, and Jennifers. There are quiet moments of peace and rest. There are shared laughs and shared tears. There are hearts that can love, and hearts that are in love. There are sunrises and sunsets and shooting stars. There are plane rides and passport checks and luggage carts. There are dirty faces, dirty hands, and dirty clothes. There are bluebirds and black beetles and bumblebees. There are surprise birthday parties and road trips home. There are welcoming arms and happy smiles. There are phone calls with good news and phone calls with words of comfort.
And all of it is beautiful.
As the semester wraps up and I take the next step in life, I am planning on looking around for the beauty that exists all around me. Yes, there is ugliness. There is pain and heartache and separation and loneliness and suffering. But that is not all there is, and I refuse to see only those things. I will be looking for the other things – for the beautiful things. I will be looking for lilies.