2017 is almost ½ over – unbelievable! I told you about my words for the year “Be Bold”. I have thought of those words often and they have given me courage many times. I tend to analyze decisions – a lot – and I have convinced myself on many occasions to stop thinking so much – just be bold and do it. Recently I was reminded of the ‘why’ behind those words.
We met Daniela in 2011 – she was 5 or 6 then. She was the friendliest, smiliest little girl and we connected right away. Every time we returned she was waiting with open arms. I remember the first time Team Restore came to work at the orphanage. Daniela followed us around with her little notebook writing down every English phrase she could find – t-shirt sayings, backpack logos, shoe brands. She really wanted to learn English. At some point – I forget just when – she told us she wanted to be called Dani. I have noticed that these children often shorten their name or start using a middle name – I wonder if they are trying to establish some type of personal identity in the midst of an uncertain life.
Dec, 2011 Oct, 2012
Eventually Daniela left Manos de Amor to move back with family – I think with her grandmother. We didn’t see her for a couple of years and then this past Christmas she came to spend her vacation at the home. We reconnected in a big way – as if no time had passed. My biggest worry is always whether our presence in the lives of these children is good, knowing it may be temporary. The days we spent together at Christmas assured me that love is good – period.
A couple of weeks ago a volunteer invited the children to a restaurant for pizza and Daniela (yup – she is back to being called Daniela now) was invited. We were so excited to see her. And I couldn’t believe the shirt she was wearing. Be Bold. Seriously. She was wearing a shirt that said Be Bold. As I looked at her it was as if she was my own personal billboard reminding me of the WHY to all this
Yes I want to be bold because life is short and I want to have adventures and experiences. I want to live life fully. I don’t want to hold back out of fear or insecurity. But Daniella’s shirt screamed at me that it is because of little people like her that we are here, that we are stretching ourselves so taut that some days I fear we will tear. Not just for Daniella but for all of them. They are my WHY. Daniella – and her shirt – was my reminder.