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Author Archives: Healing Eyes

‘We’ the grieving

Healing Eyes

Travelers Beware

To those who wished they live a life of travel and adventure. Don’t! It’s not really everything we dreamed up as a child…it’s the most stressful anxiety riddled life to pursue. Why? Well easy…take this photo for example that now has my belongings packed in it again, all the vacuum sealed bags with clothes and a very thin pillow all compressed into 2 containers that I pray are under 50 lbs each.

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Following God sometimes means being ready to Go when he says Jump. So now I jump and get on another fricken plane, leaving behind very precious little girls and boys.

What also isn’t glamorous about travel is traveling alone! Yes as a widow You now are faced with the realization that you have to pack all the bags and You have to carry them to and fro. Myself being kinda petite (5’4″) I don’t have the biggest muscles for the job but again another downfall of being alone after being used to a partner for 13 years. Never take for granted that husband at your side ladies, even when they aggravate you and irritate you to death.

Finally, why traveling isn’t what you dreamed of as a child….the airports. Need I say more?! Being moved around like cattle and crammed into small spaces with who knows next to you. Crying babies, loud talkers, and yes the kicker right behind your seat. All flying is a Bus in the Air except you can’t have the breeze on your face and no stopping at that truck stop.

Did I scare you off from being a traveler and adventurer yet?

Alas, I can’t deny there is some sense of freedom and abundance to this life, even with all the negatives. Meeting new people and seeing what you are capable of out of your comfort zone. Adapting to change more easily. And if you are me it’s those kids smiles when they light up each time I return from a trip…yelling… “Miss Sarah is back!!!!!!!” Then they squeeze my waste and tackle me.

I don’t want to leave the kids God! But I must…I have to see what could come of a blossoming relationship in Michigan and I must build support for Africa where thousands of kids could use some compassion and perhaps selfishly I could use all those tiny little hugs.

Healing Eyes

Day before the Last Day

My Lighthouse Girls will forever hold a special place in my heart.
I hope to come back to see them again if God directs our paths together again.

Healing Eyes

Fear of life

Alone with my thoughts.
A cool breeze and calming voice of the waves. Grief is a journey. Grief is solitary but life is not.
I see a hermit crab walking towards the water alone…so small. Reminds me of angel when she named a hermit crab after me and called it her friend.
Of course the crab died eventually.

Am I dead? I haven’t blogged that much. But no I am not. I still am alive.

I leave this island Thursday and I fear the change. Always a fear here or there. It’s the journey of grief and perhaps life …

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Healing Eyes

Moments Add Up

“Sweet kids are dying. Which means the future is dying. And if the future is dying we won’t have a future.”

Words from a small boy at the Boys and Girls Club of America after I talked to him about kids in Africa. The kids yelled out, “yay Miss Sarah is coming with”! As I crowded into the club van with them. That was the first time they did that…perhaps being gone and the coming back impacted them a bit more than I expected.

One of the girls screamed and ran to hug me when I got to the club…what a sweetie…she missed me.

Another boy told me he heard from the Lighthouse Kids that I was back and he decided the next day he was going to run to the Boys and Girls club to find me.

The kids were so inquisitive about the kids in Africa and how they lived. There little faces showed so much concern over the kids in Africa not having shoes or clean clothes. Each kid was shocked that the many of the kids didn’t wear shoes. They asked about what I did there and if I had fun, what the kids ate there. One girl asked me, “Miss Sarah do they have playgrounds in Africa?” That was a first time for that question, I told her no not really, that costs too much money. She was saddened by this and asked more questions about how sick the kids were and how sad it is that they are dying.

The boy that said ‘Sweet kids shouldn’t die’ said the solution could be more Testing for diseases and more medicine. I asked him what about Love…he smiled and said yea that’s important too.

We went to the playground, my first time going with them there, and played on the mary-go-round and slides. I was acting like one of the kids and screaming on the mary-go-round as we took turns spinning it.

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I will miss these kids … perhaps they will never know how much they helped me this past year. Kids can really do big things if we let them. Just making bracelets for kids in Africa allowed them to see what other kids lives were like through the photos I shared with them. My one favorite boy was collecting photos the other kids dropped on the ground and putting them in his bag for safety. He is such a giving and caring boy. We sat together at the end of the day and he shared his valentine candy with me, I asked him if he had a valentine and he blushed and said, “yeah”.

If our lives our made up of moments than each of those little moments sitting on the steps or in the playground with those kids talking about moments in their lives than it was worth losing it all to find them.

Healing Eyes

Torn between two worlds of Need

A transition between what has helped me move through grief and find the new person in me that I never knew existed to the person I used to be. The need to gain closure on who I was with Andy and what Andy meant to me while being pulled by new faces in Africa. So many faces that I don’t know what to do with when viewed in its enormity of the cause. If I step back and look at just the ONE child and the need to Go again to find that One smile amongst thousands of faces. When here on St, Croix I have seen those smiles and formed a love for these kids that I have grown attached to. The looming goodbye is wearing at me and I fear it’s the wrong choice. I know I have to go and it’s already laid out for me, just some small things like selling the Jeep and a mini refrigerator before packing again. However, today I saw the girls again and one girl in particular hugged me so tight. I will miss her the most and a week from now I will cry tears on that plane as I leave this life behind. It seems I am crying a lot on planes these days! I never knew I could like kids and even handle more than an hour with them. That I was capable of being loved and now I am saying goodbye to it. Why open my heart to something to say goodbye? Today I shared Africa with the kids and explained the need there. That many kids have no water or food and are starving…that they have nothing and make only $1 a day sometimes. The kids were rather quiet during this and I think they felt my pain of going and the pain I felt for those kids on the other side of the world. It’s a bit frustrating when I see kids understand more clearly what suffering is and show more interest in Africa than adults. Is it that curiosity that as adults we lose? Lost in our own problems and stresses of life that curiosity has no place? On a strange coincidence we had cake at the Lighthouse and my birthday is Sunday. I like to think the ‘Sarah Lee’ cake was for me but it was only a coincidence. Today I told the kids I was leaving and it made me sad. I find it a strange coincidence that a homework assignment about predicates summed up the afternoon. (see number 4 and 5 in the photo) photo 3   I happily handed out the donations from the church back in Michigan to the girls. They really like getting spoiled and I think the boys class is jealous.

Healing Eyes

Void where there was pain

Thousands of miles later and I am looking out at the palm trees and pink fluffy clouds again. My return to the island is very strange feeling. It isn’t happy or sad or even elated.

I feel ‘blank’

Used up…

Incomplete…

Maybe its the rush of adrenaline that has left my system or perhaps the exhaustion. All of those reasons would make sense logically based on our limited bodies. Or I could go with the other reason I feel empty.

Something happened in Africa that I can’t quite explain yet. I wasn’t excited while there, I wasn’t elated, I wasn’t even full of ideas of what to do. While there I saw a lot and felt a lot but did I really fall in love with it there? Or perhaps it was the feeling of being Alive in extreme circumstances. Was it the outpouring of love and fragility of life that fills the inevitable void?

With my eyes closed I still see her… little Billah… branded on my heart. Why am I worried about her? She is one girl amongst a thousand and I am one small person amongst a million.

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This room I sit in right now is clean, comfortable, even without running water I can drink from the tap or a kitchen to cook in. This still is LUXURY!

It’s not a void I feel but an ache…a deep sorrow for what I saw and those kids I touched and held in my arms. My heart is bleeding for them and I can’t erase it. I have seen too much to just turn away from that need. To see so much pain and need when our dollar can go so far and turn my face to that. When education is bountiful in the States even for the poor but in Africa its a choice between eating and learning. Working to exhaustion to survive and children and babies starve in the streets, die of diseases, malnutrition, neglect, pain…

No I do not feel a void..but finally I see a purpose…I see what was missing…and yet I am powerless to do anything measurable in today’s version of ‘success’.  It has to be small steps and little victories, showing love, and teaching compassion to those with the least. But do they really have the least? When they live so fully in the simplicity of life when we drown ourselves with gadgets, clothing, fancy toys, and trinkets.

I will start off with one goal and that is to fundraise like crazy to go back…to show compassion…to build relationships and above all invest in LIFE. My first fundraiser was a success as I really thought it would fail. However, God showed me and raised $648 out of just 25 people! That to me is amazing and he gave me a CPA that I have been praying for. Now If I keep doing this than maybe Healing Eyes will become more than a dream, a whim, a crazy idea.

It starts with the Small Step forward into the impossible.

Healing Eyes

Billah

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Another letter ready to send to Billah in Uganda. My hope is that one of these letters will reach her so she knows I remember her. Thought a photo of her in each one would be a cute touch and I use construction paper to try and hide the fact that there is a photo in it so no one steals it. So frustrating that sending things over to Africa may never even reach them and if they do someone might even steal a photo that isn’t them.

But I will keep on trying with One child at a time…this is what Compassion is all about.

Healing Eyes

Fate turned into Chili?

Does prayer work in modern day life? What possibly comes from praying to something unseen?

I think not…I think are brains want to believe in something in order to not feel alone. That can be an interesting perspective right? It’s all make believe and coincidences….

Nah sorry guys but I just can’t think that way anymore. I have seen too much to sway me to the other side … and yes I do doubt and wobble around with these thoughts but after last night I again have to Let Go of my opinions and go with the flow.

I have been hoping for a CPA for several months now to help with my confusion on Math. Can I say how much I dislike math? It’s not just the numbers I don’t get but the forms and then record keeping and the possibility of screwing it all up. In a rather interesting twist of fate a CPA appeared yesterday because of Chili. Yes food again was the catalyst for the answered prayer. I think its the old ‘break bread’ with each other fable that seems to really work!

Last night was Healing Eyes first official Event and fundraiser. Prior to it I was doubting and wanting it to all disappear, my stomach was in knots about talking in front of people, I thought it was all going to blow up in my face, and I would embarrass myself. Big Sigh….but it all worked out. After I put the mic to my mouth and began spewing word after word and I started to feel the evil nerves dissipate I gained some confidence. Of course than I stammered and choked on words and cried but I got some laughs out of the audience and some tears. Perhaps one person walked away feeling what I felt and that this world needs people with that unhardened heart to see beyond the pain of ourselves and step out into the unknown.
By the end of it as the mic was put away and I stepped aside I felt utter relief it was over and my brain truly shut down. Every bit of me was gone and now others around started to help pick up and I stood there in amazement of all these people helping. It’s sooooooo cool to see people come together and even cooler when it’s something worth working for.

So I think Healing Eyes will continue on and as my Prayer for A CPA was answered in a very cool ‘God’ way I will keep letting go and letting this mysterious invisible friend take the lead.

Photos to come soon! 🙂

Healing Eyes

Restless

Wide awake on my bedroom floor…adjusting to sleeping with a stiff back. Night 2 with my homemade nest of blankets. In Africa I had a foam mattress..that sounds nice now. Perspective on appreciating the small things.

I was looking at Amazima’s website today and the story of Katie.
Am I ever going to prosper like that ?
Is this all just too impossible?

I can’t sleep…I’m worrying about little beelah. If she is safe, still going to school, loved…I miss her.
I think I am too easily sucked in by a smile. Which is hilarious as kids annoy me…well Whiney ones ha.
Maybe it was her giggle and shyness. Or maybe it was her gratitude for life even in dire conditions. Compared to life here that is. Actually she had an amazing home…nature and water. My favorite!

Watch over those kids God and pave the way for my return. Let me help them…and let them help me.

Healing Eyes