By Maggie Breen
I have heard the phrase, "There are many different ways to be rich" many times before and I have each time nodded or smiled in agreement. But I guess I haven't really heard what was being said on these previous times or there was a piece of me that was resistant to accept this wholeheartedly as being true. There are many good and complex reasons for this resistance that I won't go into now but related I think to really wanting each to have what they need and really being desperate to believe that I am truly valuable.
But there was something about the way that Stefan the National Director at NPH Honduras said it or something about the stories he told that accompained his claim that "There are many ways to be rich" that caused me to believe him, that caused me to let go of some of the resistance that I think I had to this idea.
There were many things that he talked about that helped me to see in a new way. He talked about the beauty and Spirit of children that had endured the most horrific of circumstances but that now could laugh and play: "Forgive and move on" was how I think he put it. He talked about the presence of a good and loving God that he saw moving and being reflected in the new life that had found these kids. He talked about a home in severe financial crisis but that refused to believe that there was not a way to keep going. The way Father Wesson once said it, "We refuse to believe we can be more generous than God." He talked about decisions and a life lived in generosity because of deep, deep faith that there is a way. He talked about always having room for more because the children that come need a place now, not next year, and they cannot be turned away. He talked about the riches he has found in this home for 500 brothers and sisters: a home, a place of belonging, a place to know that you are loved and to love.
During play time today Josue (Ho SWAY) crawled into my lap. He is autistic and non-verbal. He carries an empty chip packet around in his left hand. He must like the way it sounds or looks or feels. With his other hand he pulls on his ear or presses on his eye almost constantly. From what I understand he is much more tranquil than he used to be when he would bang his head and be difficult to hold. The way he has had his needs met at NPH has helped him settle. He sat in my lap for about an hour and whenever I tried to take an arm away from around his waist he would pull it back. Eventually his ever moving hand and arm stopped moving and his breathing was slow and easy. "Esta dormida" declared one of the girls skipping by. He had fallen asleep. We sat there on the concrete for another hour and then as I shifted him towards the end of our time I felt his little body start to shake. He was chuckling. I looked down and his face was creased in a smile, his dark brown eyes were twinkling and he was chuckling. He did this for about 10 minutes more, burying his little head into my chest and just shaking with laughter. When I took him back to his caregiver and explained they smiled, nodded and said something to me the only part of which I heard was amore: love.
Thanks be to God for Stefan and Josue and this place. I believe there are many ways to be rich.