In July of 2012, I travelled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti with a small team of high school and college students from Northshore Community Church.Our initial goal was to partner with a small orphanage located in one of the most poor and dangerous city in the world.
On that twelve day trip, I met an amazing man named Windy Sauver. He had a passion for the children of Cite Soleil and a huge heart for Jesus.
He had an enormous impact on my outlook on life and my relationship with Jesus.
Windy is the most joyous person I’d ever met. His wide smile revealed pearly white teeth. When he thought no one was looking, I’d find him wearing his headphones and jamming to Imagine Me by Kirk Franklin.
At the time of our visit, Windy was also incredibly ill. Windy, unable to access reliable healthcare, was taken under the wing of Jeff and Terry Clark, our team leaders. The Clarks both work in the medical field in the United States. The Clarks, who worked alongside medical organizations in the states finally concluded that Windy’s illness was most likely Leukemia.
On December 8th, 2012, Windy was finally able to see the face of his sweet Jesus. All of his earthly pain and suffering was finally removed and his body fully restored. My heart aches because I selfishly wish that he never had to stop listening to his gospel music and writing his book. However, I also am comforted because I know that he found solace and strength.
As someone also living with a disabling condition, I found his endurance, faith, and hope absolutely incredible. Ever since I had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, I consistently failed to believe that anything positive could come from my situation. His testimony gave me hope.
I relayed briefly these anxieties to Windy who bluntly stated that I was lacking the faith I claimed to hold. It took some time, but I eventually realized that he was not reprimanding me for any doubt. I think doubt is inevitable. In my life, doubt has always motivated me to seek truth and reassurance.
Windy told me that all the time God is good. I began to take his words to heart.Joy remains within reach and fear should never dominate our lives, especially if we claim to be followers of Christ.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with persona poems–as I was a couple of weeks ago– a persona poem is an attempt to tell a story or paint a landscape through the eyes of another person. The poet must lay aside their own biases and even voice in order to effectively do justice to the person they are attempting to essentially be. I chose to write about Mother Teresa to write about because I’ve always admired her ability to see the power in ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. We can learn a lot from her story.
Mother Teresa 1946
The streets of Calcutta perturb me.
Ditches, slums, and waste.
The busyness and disquiet
muffle the sounds of the poor and sick.
I see big dark eyes searching for light in dark alleyways.
The hungry cries of malnourished little ones pierce the air.
The noise reaches deaf ears.
Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely
and the unwanted.
They too, deserve our love.
I received a call from God.
Now I live with the poor, as a ghost, blending perfectly in. Alongside them,
I’ve been trying to think of the perfect gift for my mother. I am quite aware I missed the Mother’s Day boat. Every Mother’s day I wonder, how any gift could ever match up to anything my mom has lovingly sacrificed for me? Well, that would be one hard gift to find.This is not to say you shouldn’t give your mom something for Mother’s Day. Rather, just remember that mothers are something to be celebrated every single day! They’re not babysitters who go home after their hours are completed–lucky you!
It is crazy to think that in just a few crazy weeks, I’ll be graduated from High School with 30 college credits. I’m convinced I couldn’t have made it through without my mother. I bore the near impossible task of writing 100 words about both my parents in a tribute for graduation day. I could write a thousand about them both. I know I’m going to bawl my eyes out. Waterproof mascara is still on my graduation day shopping list.
My mom has been there for the roughly 1,600 days of school I’ve made it through thus far. And no not just to pick me up from the bus stop. In fact, I rode on a school bus for the first time just this past weekend and it was nothing special. From day one, she has been my teacher. Kindergarten through twelfth grade, she’s been my favorite. Without my mom, I wouldn’t be having an awesome graduation party. There are twenty-five days and counting until graduation. My graduation party is this weekend. I told my mom way back when that I had no idea what I wanted I just didn’t want it to be an expensive extravaganza. Based off of my vague suggestions she’s been planning menus, ordering floral arrangements, and making Costco runs. She says ‘Oh Kayla I hope it’s what you wanted and you’re not disappointed.’ She ordered my graduation announcements and has been collecting items and pictures for my ‘senior shrine’ to be displayed at the senior dessert and after the graduation ceremony. I swear the only thing I’ve done so far is stuff envelopes. She reminded me of every yearbook deadline, although she knew I received every reminder e-mail. She is quite aware I have been putting too many things on my ‘will do tomorrow’ list.
My mom has been at my side through every health crisis and surgery–well OK so it was just one surgery. I’ve had multiple MRI’s, EEG’s, CT scans, heart monitors, you name it I’ve had it etc. She packed my lunches for summer camp when I was on a 15 carbohydrates a day diet in hopes that it would hamper my absence epilepsy episodes. She has also been there for every celebration and birthday party. She attended every choir performance and every piano recital. She’s gone with me to pick out every spring formal dress. She attended nearly every t-ball, basketball, softball, and soccer game. She washes my sheets and cleans my room before I arrive home from every camp and mission’s trips–trust me, it’s the best thing ever. She even made my first Barbie cake.
My mom has been my listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. She’s the greatest girlfriend ever. I can borrow her clothes, share secrets and only with her can I laugh until I cry while watching Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in the Proposal.
She’s proofread nearly every report, essay, and analysis I’ve ever written, starting with my first book reports and simple five paragraph Academic essays. To this day, nearly every paper I write, she still reads— consequently, every single essay she hasn’t proofread has had the most grammatical errors. She let me stay up until midnight reading chapter books, but thankfully, she also made sure I survived every math lesson. She explained every problem in every way she knew how. She tells me all the time, “your best is different from everyone else’s best. If your best is a C then so be it.” Believe me, it’s not always what I want to hear, but it’s always exactly what I need to hear.
Somebody told me the other day that I am very patient and tolerant, and that it must be because I have six brothers and one sister. I first took it as a compliment, and then I thought “Who am I kidding?! Clearly, this guy has never met my mom before!”
There’s a joke in our house, especially between me and mom, that ‘nothing is ever lost until your mom can’t find it.’ If I complained about my brain being elsewhere, I’m pretty sure she could redirect my focus.
Proverbs 31 Woman
My mom is a Proverbs 31 woman. She spends her rare moments of solitude reading the Bible. She has her priorities straight. She has hair that would make Marilyn Monroe jealous and can rock red lipstick more than any other forty-two year-old woman I know. I sure hope I inherited those great genes!
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 30: 30-31
Mothers, we take advantage of them all the time. They do our laundry, cook our meals, remind us to scrub behind our ears, and pick-up our rooms. Even more importantly, they hold our hand as we crawl, walk, and run this crazy race called life. Whoever the mother is in your life, don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you.