Thursday, December 27, 2012

Determination

If I lived in the circumstances that our Finding Freedom through Friendship families endure, I have to question whether I would have the emotional capacity to find joy in the holiday season. 
How many prayers from the women we help have remained unanswered? What endless empty promises from local Guatemalan governments that insist they will improve the lot of indigenous Mayan women have created resentment in their hearts? How many men have come into the lives of the women we assist, and left again after staying only long enough to create another child, loved but forever hungry? What stories have traveled back from the north, told by neighbors who have crossed, and have witnessed opportunity that is hopelessly out of grasp? What hope do our illiterate, cash-strapped mothers have for their children when faced with the obstacles they have?
Despite all of this and more, they persist, these resilient women. They continue to pray, and they offer me their prayers also. They have hope at each election, even though they don't understand the voting process and don't participate. Each man who shows interest is a potential promise of help feeding children who otherwise must go hungry. Hope? They have it, because they know without hope for a better future, one has nothing.
( Photo by Roland)
This Christmas tree, put together with care in one of the villages we work in, is a symbol of that desire. Look how carefully it is constructed, right in the center of the public area of the village, for all to enjoy. In an area lackluster in color, surrounded by drab tin and wood houses, this tree is a reflection of what the Christmas season should be. It stands for determination in the face of adversity and hope in times of scarcity. This tree took precious financial resources and time to assemble. I've seen some beautiful holiday trees this season, but this one is the best.