In my travels with World Vision, I see small, hungry children like those living in tunnels under the streets of Ulaanbaatar. I am certain that I’ll never forget their thin little bodies or the look of hopelessness in their eyes. I’m determined to remember the stories of how, homeless and abandoned, they seek shelter from the freezing temperatures of the harsh Mongolian winters by living underground in tunnels dug to house the city’s steam pipes. I’ve promised myself that when I get home I’ll tell others what I’ve seen and persuade them to join me in advocating on behalf of those little children.
But the truth is, as often as not, other things get in the way. As I return home from my travels and life resumes its normally hectic pace, I find it harder and harder to remember the faces of the children I’ve seen or recall the details of their stories. Just like a meteor shower hidden by bright city lights, those precious children become obscured by my busy life, filled with daily demands and activities. These things suddenly seem so important, but in the larger scheme of things, their significance is dwarfed by what I could be doing to advocate for children in need. My heart stops being broken when I’m away from the suffering I’ve seen.
The Prayer on the Flyleaf
Of course, that’s not the way I want to live, but what can I do? How can I keep myself from forgetting the very things I want most to remember? How do I go about creating space in my life for those hurting children?1