By Stephanie Fisk
When I left the orphanage for the last time, Chantear was standing by the green gate waving good bye. As the tuk-tuk I was riding in pulled away from the center, her tears erupted. They had been building during our long, drawn out goodbye. Hugs lasting minutes followed by more glances, unsure smiles and lingering hugs. She was all mine.
She grabbed my heart the first time we met in the hospital. She was sick. I sat with her and sang.
All I wanted to do was lavish God’s love on her. Sing, laugh and dance together. Hug her and serve her. She wanted to do the same. Hold my hand; draw me pictures and write me letters; imitate my funny faces and laugh at me. I am hers, and she is mine.
We love each other; however you look at the relationship: mother/daughter; sister/sister; friend/friend. But I left her – just as the seven boys left her last week. The same tears, separation and difficult goodbyes. This time, it was me causing the pain in her heart.
That was about to much to think about. I was leaving her. Just as she had experienced her entire life. Yet, in her childish faith, she continues to love.
Once again, I flashed back to the green gateand the tears. Another theme begins to come into focus. I met Jesus in Chantear.
I played with Jesus each morning as we walked hand in hand through the orphanage. Jesus loved to serenade me in Khemi (Cambodian language) and kiss my heart with her’ smile.
All I wanted to do was pour out my undying love upon Chantear – upon Jesus.
Now I was leaving. And Jesus was crying. I was abandoning Jesus. And he was crying.
He loves me so much. And I love him so much. How could I even think of leaving him? He is my Joy, my Hope, my Happiness and source of Life. I wake up in the morning excited to go and be with Jesus. To hug him and sing with him.
The bigger picture begins to come more into focus. Yes, sometimes I may feel as though I have left Jesus; as though I have turned and ran in the opposite direction.
But Jesus has always been alive to me and is becoming more real to me through each “Chantear” I meet.
Chantear will always be real. She will always live in my heart and inhabit my prayers. And who knows, I may return one day to the orphanage and be able to hug Chantear and all the other amazing kids at the center.
I feel as though God has been whispering to me:
“Do not grieve, but rejoice that I (Jesus) chose to give myself to you in the form of a little orphan girl named Chantear. I will continue to manifest myself to you. Just watch and wait. I am real and will continue to be real. Do not miss your next ‘Chantear,’ because you are grieving the loss of my last gift to you! Rejoice!”
If you liked this article, check out: Tears Fall Hard
Stephanie Fisk spent 2006 traveling to the forty-eight contiguous states, doing servant ministry. She has a heart to call the least and the deserted to a great wedding feast. In 2007, she traveled the world and just finished up her year-long pilgrimage in East Asia.