Sunday, October 6, 2013

Handprints On My Heart


I got asked recently why I was writing these letters and stories from Mexico and I just shrugged and answered "Because God told me to." Lame, I know. It's true, God did tell me to write them, but that was a cop-out answer because I didn't want to go into all the details of explaining exactly why I felt that this was what God wanted me to do.

And to be honest, it's a hard question to answer because I don't know all the reasons why but I can share this story explaining the "why" a little better.

The day after we arrived in Mexico, we went to a woodcarving demonstration in the afternoon after church because we had some spare time before we needed to get back to the hotel. The carvings took weeks, sometimes months to finish, from the choosing of the wood, to the painting of the finished design. It was an incredible process and I especially enjoyed watching how they mixed up their own natural paints. 

As we were looking around the shop, after the demonstration I really wanted to buy something to bring back home as a souvenir but nothing was really catching my attention. I also didn't have a whole lot of money with me and this was our first day so I didn't want to get anything real expensive and not have any money left. 

Then I saw the display of wooden hearts that were within my price range and the perfect size for what I had wanted. They had a metal loop drilled into them with a clear line attached so it could be hung up. The hearts were all hanging from the wall at different heights and it looked like a waterfall of hearts.

I settled on one that had a unique design all over. They were tiny handprints in all different colors. When I bought it, I just thought it looked really cool, but I had no idea how significant that heart would mean to me when I got home.

As I unpacked, exactly one week after buying that heart, I pulled it out of the suitcase and looked at it again. As my eyes bounced from one little handprint to another, I thought of how each of those children I met had touched my life. I realized how each person we meet leaves a mark on our lives and how we leave a mark on theirs. A handprint on my heart. 

Some marks are a handprint of love, when one touches you in such a way that you never forget their  love towards you and that mark inspires you to reach out to others to leave a mark on them. Some marks are ones you wish you could get rid of, they are painful and you wish you had never met the one who left it there. Every handprint tells a story of the one who gave it to you, of the way you perceived them to be, of the impact they had on your life. 

I wanted to tell those stories of the little handprints from my kids in Mexico and that's the biggest reason why I started writing. At first I just thought it was just going to be a handful of letters about the missions trip. But now I see that this is a lifelong project because I am always going to be meeting people and I am always going to get a new handprint from someone with story to write. 

I also started to write because I had a lot of pent-up emotions from that week and writing has always helped me work through them. Writing was an outlet to share what I saw and felt without overwhelming someone with all my feelings and talking their ear off as I described every detail to them. 

I know I'm not a very skilled writer and I know that there are a lot of typos and grammatical errors in my posts but I thank you for reading them and for all the likes and comments you've given me. Your feedback means a lot and it encourages me to keep sharing what I've written. I hope that these have been inspiring to you and that you've gotten to see a glimpse of what God has been showing me the past few weeks.