Friday, June 27, 2008

An Essay



This is an essay I wrote recently. More dramatic than you will usually hear from me, but thought I'd share it here...

Almost Astounding

Having just returned home from Ethiopia, the weight of the experience has been heavy at times and at other times, light and just chalk full of all sorts of mixed emotions that boil down to hope, sadness, longing, and love. While we were there, along with meeting our adopted son for the first time, we visited several of the state run orphanages One institution struck me in particular – an older boys orphanage, where boys who have ‘aged out’ of the adoption system reside. There are young boys living there from the age of 14 and up – some smart, full of life and attending school: trying to turn a desperate situation into something positive and some who have lost hope.

Getahun, a young boy who falls into the optimistic category made a special impression on me, right away upon entering the grounds. He was one of two boys (out of 160) who was in the room they call the library, one of the nicer rooms at the facility with aqua blue walls and a few tables and chairs, studying his books – going against the grain of the day and tackling his schoolwork. As soon as we walked in the door, he approached us and greeted us politely. There was a group of about 8-10 of us Americans there invading his space, and he was kind to us all. He was serene and had such a peaceful spirit; it was almost astounding to see here.

As we walked around the campus, we spoke to Getahun about his aspirations, his dreams, and his knowledge of Ethiopia and the small town of Nazareth, where our son was born. What struck me more than his intelligence, mastery of the English language and kindness, was the deepness of his soul. I could feel the depth of his experience, his past in my core and yet it was a light, almost uplifting feeling that prevailed. This is the heavy/light phenomenon I grew familiar with while I was there.

As our trip to visit the boys grew to a close and we had to say goodbye to our new friends, I noticed Getahun’s shirt and I told him that I ‘liked it.’ Well the truth is I had noticed it right away when we met him – it was a bright, vibrant, turquoise color with some beautiful and colorful embroidery work on it. Quite an uplifting shirt for such a potentially dark situation. It looked so nice on him. So I let him know.

My husband I returned from Ethiopia just over a month ago, with our incredible son and a whole lot of change in perspective. So much about this trip blew us away…not the least of which was this orphanage and these boys – their ability to somehow make us feel hopeful as we stare at their stark circumstances. They gave us so much.

And then the most amazingly intense thing happened. A few days ago, a package arrived in the mail addressed to me from an adoptive family that had traveled after us and visited the boys at the same orphanage. It was sent from Getahun. And it was his shirt.

He gave me the shirt off his back, out of nowhere, so unexpected. I have a hard time putting this experience into words. I only know that it was a beautiful, simple and peaceful thing for him to have done – and that it’s not about the shirt. It's about the gift of friendship, the irony and the small worldness of it all. Getahun’s shirt represents his soul: bright and colorful, rich and glorious, passionate and peaceful, magical and light.




19 comments:

Evelyn said...

What a gift! So beautiful, humbling and touching. Thanks for sharing!

shelly said...

wow is all I can say...WOW!...makes my eyes tear up...

Sara said...

The beauty that resides in the hearts of others is truly amazing.

Sandy said...

Something to save and treasure--What a story and shirt to share with Noah someday.--It doesn't quite fit yet I see. Don't wear it out Mommy! :)

Amy B. said...

What an incredible, humbling, sweet gift. We, too, were so touched by these young men. What amazing spirits they have...for sure one of the highlights of our trip.

Amy

Ladybugs appear said...

i am crying. this is the most touching story. best,
amy

Danni and Tommy said...

incredible

J, A & T said...

Ahhhhhh...that is so amazing!!!! What a special boy that you got to meet. Lots of tears here!

Eric & Tara said...

Wow, that brings tears to my eyes.

also, I didn't realize Noah was from Nazareth- Mal is too! I don't know anything about it- can you tell me anything that he told you?? I would love to have something to tell Malak about where he was born...

Chris and Shasta said...

This is such an incredible story. I'm not even sure how to respond except to say: wow. Our boy is from Nazareth as well! I'd love to hear anything you were able to learn about the area! -S.

Jennifer and Jody said...

I am so touched by this. I am sitting here at work, crying my eyes out. Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing.
Jen

sparkz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sparkz said...

Wow. I read that and my eyes were and still are tearing up. How sweet. I have noticed that the Ethiopians in general are so giving and sweet like that. They have so little and give so much. Its amazing. You can't help but love the culture and the people. Did you choose to visit that orphanage or was it just somewhere you went? I would like to visit it and take those boys something. I have been buying shirts whenever I have seen them cheap and I really would like to make sure they get them.
Actually, what institution is this? I really want to send them something and then I can take more later. Does the package the came in have a return address? I would love any info.
chelseandavid@hotmail.com

The Albertsons said...

That is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this story... sweet Noah is getting so big, too!
love
becca

Ted and Lori said...

Angie, this is so wonderful. What a treasure for you and what a kind heart this boy has.

Jana said...

So beautiful! Thanks for writing this.

sparkz said...

What did Noah think of the 4th?

LISA said...

WoW!That is so touching.

Hauswife said...

What a treasure! What a precious boy! Thanks for sharing your essay.