Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Final Frontier

Space is a word that means a lot of things.  The dictionary defines space as :

1.the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur.2.the portion or extent of this in a given instance;extent or room in three dimensions:the space occupied by a body.3.extent or area in two dimensions; a particularextent of surface:to fill out blank spaces in a document.4.Fine Arts.the designed and structured surface of a picture, the illusion of depth on a two-dimensionalsurface.5.outer space.6.deep space.7.a seat  Verb- to set some distance 5.outer space.6.deep space.7.a seat, berth, or room on a train,

Space is a lot of things, to a lot of people, but I am referring in this blog about "my space" which is not listed by Webster.

Space is not the final frontier.  My bathroom is.  I have had my bathroom to myself for a long time.  All the girls had house moms for years, and so I was on my own at night.  One time, when a two teams that came at the same time from Locust Grove, I was living by myself.    I had my house and all of the bathrooms to myself.  WE had so many people with two teams at coming down at the same time, that I had to share my bathroom.  I was so used to being in the house by myself and all of a sudden it was like living in a college dorm.  It was fun for a week and everything went back to normal.

Then I had two first time moms with two newborn babies show up and I couldn't put them with the other girls, because I feared for their infants, and so they came into my house and my space.  But I still had my own bathroom.

Some of you know, because of labor issues here in Honduras, we were having a lot of problems with my hired help monoriting the girls.  So I went to part time help.  The ladies would come at 4 pm, and then they started coming at 5 pm, and then 6 pm and so on.  This meant they were spending little to no time with the little ones or the big girls for that matter.  The girls had to wait until the ladies got there before they could get their baths. They ate their meals late, they were getting to bed late, they stayed sick.  They were also just crying all the time about little things.  I found that the ladies were not helping the little girls, brush their teeth, or get dressed, or go to bed on time.  The girls were on their own.  Some of our girls have bedwetting situations and their linens were not being changed, and neither were their personal undergarments.  They didn't send them out in the morning with coats, or socks.  Serious health issues started cropping up that I hired a Doctor to come every 15 days.  It was crazy.

So after 20 years of doing something a certain way, I changed the norm.  I changed what my space would look like in the future. This is what happened.  The ladies came in one night and said 'they didn't feel like they could continue to work under the conditions of the farm'.  However, something flipped over in me when they said that because I was thinking about how sick the girls were and I thought "I can't either".  I really didn't know what the ladies were talking about......  They had their meals, and only were working two hours at night and two in the morning, and we gave them medicines for their families, along with clothes, and food supplements and the ministry paid 5 times more than the other people around.  We are noted as an institution legally here in Honduras, like World Vision or Care, so we have to pay more to our employees.  I found out later, that they wanted me to tell one of my older girls to leave, but I didn't know to ask about it, or maybe I was just to too tired to inquire further, as I would have done normally.

I prayed about the change and started moving the little squirts into my house.  I got the beds from the other houses moved.  I moved Anastacia to house one with Neohmi who was now three.  I took their bedroom and put two bunkbeds in there.  Then I put two bunk beds in my spare bedroom.  I put two other set of bunk beds in the downstairs bedroom.  I had long wooden boxes made by some team members for them to keep their clothes.  I recieved some quilts from a container and decked their beds out with those quilts with the help of some friends from Alabama.  We painted some of the walls and we were ready to go.

Now, I knew if they hadn't brushed their teeth, or combed their hair, or done their homework, or washed their hands after leaving the bathroom.  I felt like a doctor doing her rounds at night with all the meds I had to give out for UTI's, bronchitis, warts, other fungus, stomach problems, and lice.  It took me about 45 minutes to administer everything the doctor prescribed.  But, I finally saw the girls improving.  Girls who I rarely had a conversation with in the past, outside of 'Hi', "Good Morning", "How was school", and "I love you", were talking to me about other topics, and life was good.

However, they had devoloped a lot of bad habits over this season with the temporary helpers.  They were folding their dirty clothes and wearing them again.  They were not changing their linens, not going to bed on time, not doing their homework, and a whole host of things that children do when they are not being monitored closely.  So after the honeymoon of moving them into the house, the battle was on.

I thought I would lose my mind after the first month, and slowly things started changing. One of those things, was showers.  First they broke their shower head. I mean completely off the arm.  So I had to get that repaired, while they used my shower.  They ripped down their shower curtain, and their bathroom looked like Lake Manatoba.  They set the vanity on fire with a candle.  Even with all that, we had 12 girls and myself and the bathrooms had to be shared.

I know I am a missionary and nothing I have is mine, and that it all belongs to God. However, I was hoping that my bathroom would be my sanctuary.  I don't know why I thought that, since everytime I go into the bathroom, someone has an emergency question. There is really nothing that denotes an 'inner sanctum' about a bathroom especially my bathroom which is a storehouses for meds, shampoos, bug sprays, tons of nail polish, hair care products and extra whatever, but it was my escape room. I understand about the woman Susanna Wesley, whose sons later started the Methodist church, who had so many children that she just threw her apron over her head to have her quiet time with God.   She probably didn't have her own bathroom either, or if she did it was outside, which as I think about it, might have been a good idea.

I have learned many things, about my insisting on my rights about my bathroom.  I have learned to hook the door to avoid surprises, and to have an apron handy.  I am getting it.  It boiled down to giving that area up to The Lord too.  It is not that God is demanding, He is just a realist.  Thirteen people in a house needed two bathrooms, and I don't need to have myself all whacked out because I can't get into my bathroom. I needed to give my bathroom for the greater good, which was to die to myself one more time so I could live.   Apparently, I just thought I had died to myself, but as Jimmy Keaton used to say, "If I have died to self, then why am I still wiggling".   Other people have needs that are more important than my private bathroom. Life goes on, as I continue to die to self.

I am thankful that the girls are in my space.  I am thankful that I can invest more into their lives for the short amount of time that I will have with them.  I am thankful that God allowed me to have these relationships restored, and renewed.  Because the girls are in my space the other older girls are in my house more.  We all talk more.  We do more things together.  I bake more for the girls than I used to.  I take more pictures, I laugh more, and I live more.  I am invested in them and they in me.  It is good.  Life is good, and space is irrevelant unless we get into God's space anyway. He is after all the creator and the owner of all space and time, and I don't want to waste either.

Thanks to all of you that are praying for us during this transitition time.  Thanks to all of you who write and call and support us through prayers and gifts.  Blessings from the No Necisite Mi Space Honduran Mom.