A Dozen Kisses Later

The first kiss, filled with stomach-knotting passion and newness, was shockingly good. But now, hundreds of kisses later? On the same lips? In the same arms? There’s no retrieving and reliving new.

But in place of new is something else at the heart of the relationship, something she must remind herself is better when discontent whispers — better than teenaged toe curls and warm fuzzies: An indescribable depth of connection. Passion and good grown…and still growing.

Ethiopia-2007

Experiencing poverty for the first time, and feeling that we’ve been of some assistance to the poor, is shocking and beautiful. And as he does with all thing virtuous, our Enemy tries his best to turn even this into vice.

Uganda-2008

Dominican-Republic-2008

Some of us become poverty junkies after our first exposure. Our pornography made of mud huts, bare feet, bloated bellies, warm anger at those with too much, contributions for those with too little.

We bed hop from cause to cause, organization to organization, campaign to campaign.

Truth be told, we are doing our best to retrieve and relive the high/low of that first trip.

India-2009

It is no longer mercy in view that moves us to sacrifice and service but the desperate need to feel shocked and sad and useful to greater and greater degrees…in hopes of feeling what we felt the first time. Fearful that feeling anything less would make us less.

Or…

We accept that the first time is the last time poverty will curl our souls like that. Exactly like that. And after this acceptance, we find that pity slowly evolves into true compassion – a love that suffers with. And this love continues to work in us, on us, heart and head, at deeper and deeper levels.

El-Salvador-2009

Kenya-2010

Our experiences among the poor and on behalf of them will not touch the same set of virgin nerves ever again, but different and deeper ones. The head joins the heart in engagement perhaps. Theologies are changing. Allegiances are shifting. Budgets are slowly evolving. Gratitude is building. Love is thrumming. Interests widening. Knowledge and wisdom building. Compassion is growing. Maturing.

Guatemala-2010

The least of these are not a schoolgirl crush anymore, but the Jesus in them connects more deeply with the Jesus in us over the years and the miles. “They” becomes “us”. And we become one. Family. No longer using one another to revive old emotions or prove our sensitivity.

Philippines-2011

Ecuador-2011

There is no reliving the first kiss. But what we have instead is far deeper…and better. For us all.

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