Note from ME: I know that there are hundreds of people out in the world who are doing what can only be called "God's work." Giving of their time, energy, money, love, and hope so that in some small (or large) way they will make a difference. Not for themselves, though that is most definitely a by-product of giving, but for the unfortunates who cannot do for themselves. On any of the blogs I read there are stories that will twist your heart into pieces and provoke you to dig deep into your pockets to give. I am moved by all of them and can't wait to win the lotto so I will have the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. For now, what I can do is share some of the stories with you. Maithri Goonetilleke's tales from Swaziland are some of my favorites. To be sure they are heart wrenching but the man's spirit is like a river of cool, clean water that runs through a desert, changing lives and offering hope.
"Hope is not a dream,
but a way of making dreams become reality."
Maithri has been in Australia for awhile doctoring. Recently he made his way half way around the world back to what I, without really knowing, call the work of his soul. That's not to say doctoring sick people anywhere isn't a soul calling. However, the work he does in Swaziland may just be the reason he was put on this earth.
man. Only instead of robotic body parts he is a combination angel/superhero/doctor/fundraiser/
poet/friend/ice cream buyer/laugh maker/miracle worker. He enters into some of the most poverty stricken places on earth, works his magic, and leaves the children and GoGos feeling, if possible, less poor. Some barely have food to eat, or a roof over their heads, but Maithri gives them nourishment called hope.
In a recent post he said: "Sometimes it seems that the problems of this world loom over us like deep unshakeable shadows. But the reality is that in the face of even the most unimaginable despair, hope can find a way."
It's true isn't it. In the darkest of places, all it takes is one candle's worth of light/hope to see things differently. In my opinion, Maithri is way more than a candle. He's more like one of those gigantic spotlights that sends a humongous beam of light into the air and moves back and forth announcing the grand opening of a new Chevy dealership. Only his light announces Love not four wheel drive.
On top of all this goodness Maithri can also string together words that make the writer in me swoon. For instance: "a sublime sense of hope burned like the sun around her." OMG! Sublime sense of hope ... can't you feel it?
It is hard for me to even imagine what it must have been like to sit at the feet of and listen to the great and gentle leaders of the world - Jesus, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King. I believe, however, that to be in Maithri's presence, even helping him work in the mud and dirt, would be a spiritual experience.
These are hard times for everyone. Money is nice, where would we be without it? I admit to getting excited every time Sweetie buys a lottery ticket. I have plans - big plans - for all those dollars he's going to win someday. Yet even in the hardest of times what I think works better than money is a smile, or a hand to hold, or a shoulder to lean on. No, of course, that isn't the same as food in your belly, or a place to sleep out of the cold/hot. But I believe that community starts with a smile. Have you ever noticed how another person's face will light up, if you make eye contact and offer a simple smile.
We all have a light in us. We all have the power to create hope for ourselves or others. We can all, in small ways or large, "love the world into change." If not the world, how about our own back yard, or neighborhood, or city, or country? If you can, why not make a donation to Possible Dreams, or the charity of your choice. If you can't then how about volunteering at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. If you can't do that why not bake some cookies for a neighbor. And if you can't do that, simply offer the next person you see a "sublime sense of hope" by giving him/her a moment of your time and a smile.
God bless you, Maithri, for your example and inspiration.
Wishing for each of you enough - enough + a little left over to share,
Photo and quotes used with permission.