Before the memories fade. Before my phone reminds me that I am running out of space. Before any more days pass… Here is a story of a multitude of children – precious to the Father’s heart, precious to my heart – the children from Lesotho who taught me the simplicity of love.
The dawn barely breaks before I get out of bed. The kettle starts to boil; I settle in my chair around the table. Bible open and pen in hand I watch the steam rise from my mug. The air is still cool. The sun is up but the house is dimmed. I question whether or not I should open the curtains. The light feeds my soul and refreshes my spirit, but… The morning debate between my head and my heart begins.
If I open the curtains, they’ll see I’m awake. When they know that one of us is awake, no matter how early, the knocking will begin.
This morning I decide to wait until I finish my cup of coffee before I allow the light to dominate the room. I’m not a few minutes into my prayer time when I hear whispers and footsteps at the front door.
“It’s 7:00am, how are they awake already?” I think to myself. I’ve forgotten how “early-to-rise” kids are.
There’s no knocking… yet.
I finish praying and open up my Bible to read. It’s no coincidence that I happen upon a passage from Matthew chapter seven that talks about knocking, asking and receiving from the Father. I’ve spent a good few months myself knocking at His door and waiting for answers to my many inquiries and requests. To date, there has been no response.
So here I am, beginning the day once again clinging to the Father with all I have, wanting all of Him, needing all of Him. Asking, “How do I do this? What does it look like to be completely dependent on you today? I’m uncomfortable, I’m tired, I’m lonely and frustrated… What am I supposed to do today?”
He still doesn’t answer.
I meditate over the following verses:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if you son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake! If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:7-12
“Hello?! I’m knocking, asking and seeking! Are you there?”
No doors open. No voice comes down.
I sit there with my hands embracing my coffee cup, clinging to the physical comfort because my spirit and heart are presently annoyed. And then it begins.
Knock, knock. Knock, knock.
“Me Kourtney. Hello? Maggie? Annie? Me Kourtney. Come and play!” Karabelo’s little voice calls out.
Knock, knock. Knock, knock.
I smile to myself, enjoying his attempt to convince me that he’s one of my teammates trying to get in. The tapping at the door continues. I look back over the scripture with less enthusiasm than before. Then it hits me… along with the humor of the whole situation. The answer is right there in front of me.
The door. The actual door.
I am knocking on the spiritual door. Karabelo is knocking on the literal door. I am seeking revelation. Karabelo is seeking someone to play with him. I am calling out to my Father in heaven. Karabelo is calling out to his friends inside.
The children, the children are the answer. I’m a child. He’s a child. We’re all children just longing to be with the one we love and for the one we love to be with us. Karabelo and his friends don’t demand intelligence, schedules, teachings or toys. All they want is our presence. All they want is for us to come outside and play with them, sit by them, make clay sculptures with them. All we want is to be loved. All they want is to be loved.
The revelation hit me quick and hard. The response is easy. I close my Bible, drink the last of my coffee and open the door. And the beauty that awaits me on the other side? Pure, undefiled childlike joy through the toothy grin of a seven year old.
We proceed to climb the jungle gym. I sit and let him get on my shoulders for a piggy-back ride. The more time I spend outside the more I understand. I don’t have to perform for him or any of the other children. I just have to be and to love. We laugh at the cow. We get deep and dirty with mud and clay. We run around like crazy people under the hot African sun and seek shelter to cool down. Karabelo curls up into my lap and plays with a toy. We sit there like that for a solid five minutes before he runs off and another precious babe takes his place.
Later I will take out my ukulele and play a few songs. They don’t know what I’m saying or that it’s praise music to God. But they will sit and watch, trying to pluck the strings and giggle at the sound of the chords.
I knocked. I asked. I sought. And the Father gave me something far better than bread and fish. He gave me revelation of the simplicity of love. A daily choice to open the door to one who is knocking. That day, it was a precious seven year old Basotho babe. Yesterday it was my new Khmer (Cambodian) friends I taught English. Today has only just begun.