After starting this blog yesterday, I asked Aimee (my wife) if she'd write a post explaining how SHE felt about all of this. Afterall, she's not the one who went to Africa or met Chawezi, but she's as much a part of this as I am. I mean, it's partly her money that paid for the trip and that'll help pay for whatever we do for Chawezi. And she's the one who'll be alone at home watching Rowan while I'm gone. So this is very much hers too. Here are her thoughts:
As Pat mentioned, in her native tongue, "Chawezi" means "gift". And what a gift she is to our family! This beautiful young woman who bears the limitations of bowels she can't control and legs that won't even allow her the dignity to run away for privacy or protection is working powerfully in our lives. I've known vulnerability but nothing like the powerlessness that Chawezi experiences everyday. I had the privilege of caring for my father at the very end of his battle with cancer. It was a rare and sacred journey to be allowed the intimacy that occurs in human relationships when we can truly be present to the needs of another. I count myself blessed to have had the opportunity to do for my dad what he could not have done for himself. In those beautiful moments, I witnessed dignity within indignity, strength within weakness. I had a front row seat to his daily date with surrender.
God has graced our family with Chawezi, a girl a world away who has the same feelings as my little girl sleeping peacefully in the next room. She has the same hunger for love, acceptance and protection as the precious one I hold & pray over every night. Only there's no one holding Chawezi. No father to protect her. No mother to comfort her. Our hope is to go the distance with this girl. We want to extend ourselves just as if she was ours. We want to be the ones to reach for her in love, to show her she is beautiful just as she is and to protect her from that which would threaten her.
The weeks march on toward the date of Pat's departure. Aware of the oddity it will be for her to have a white guy from a distant land pay her a visit, we are hoping that barriers of culture, language and sheer"weirdness" will be removed so that Pat can glean solid information about her current needs. Our hope is that the visit will allow Pat to convey our love while giving us a much clearer understanding of how to express our love for her in tangible ways.