I walked into a construction zone as if I had never anticipated it.
It’s true, I had heard that there were projects going on. They were on their third team from the states and about to receive another in just a few days. I knew the plans, I was excited by what I was going to see.
But I didn’t ready myself for all that I would see when I opened the iron gate that enclosed our property.
I had to weave through piles of sand and rock and drying cement.
I dodged wood structures reflecting the walls that would one day be solid and standing.
By the time I reached the house I was already covered in dust and clay.
I saw strangers all around that looked like me mixed with locals who were also part of the construction team. I greeted them as I walked through but my eyes darted as I searched for the ones my heart had truly come for.
I wanted to bring out my camera, wanted to somehow capture our interactions for the first time in months but I decided against it.
I wanted both hands free, both arms open.
And as I began walking through the front doors of the house,
I began to see the ones I knew... The one's that had captured my heart so many times before.
There were only a few, the rest were returning from school but it was enough for me to be filled with so many emotions… familiar and foreign.
I grabbed them by twos… I held them so close… Some of them bigger than before… growing into themselves and looking more and more like little women.
Minutes later I turned around and saw the little ones pouring through the gates I had just entered back through. I saw them and my heart leapt.
So. Much. Love.
And I yelled to them, called out to them, and began to walk back outside where dust and sand swirled in the air.
And then they began to run.
They ran to me.
And my eyes filled with tears as they had almost daily when I lived with them just shy of 7 months ago.
Before I could move towards them any more they had already reached me...
They were already in my arms again.
And it felt so familiar.
It was as if no time had passed.
It was special, but there was this normality about seeing them that also made me realize the depth in our relationships reflected a reunion that didn’t feel so out of the ordinary.
It was as if this reunion was always meant to take place and we were just stepping back into each other’s lives, each other’s stories in the most natural way.
And I watched them play later that afternoon.
In that space outside overtaken with dirt and sand.
As teams worked into the night and the girls ran around their projects and messes.
The path to their trampoline littered with scrap wood.
The walk up to the house required a bob and weave motion under and over countless latters and makeshift structures.
The volleyball court overtaken by piles of broken rock and cement.
The kitchen shoved into the corner of the house entry way while the permanent one was being built on the other side of hanging tarps and temporary walls.
And I began to see this reality come together as I took in the environment around me and also reflected on the girls and what my relationships with them have taught me.
I began to see their stories, my stories, our stories within this construction site.
All the different areas, aspects, and endeavors taking place in this enclosed area that belongs to them.
I started to see piles of rubble and they began to speak out the brokenness and areas of the past that were marked with darkness and difficulty.
These areas that are being made and remade that speak of the experiences these girls have gone through and the process of healing, restoration, redemption and freedom they are in the midst of.
It’s a now and not yet reality…
The work is still being done.
The cement is still being mixed.
The tile is still being laid.
The beauty is still breaking forth.
But the process is something to behold.
Because it matters.
And it takes an army.
And as I looked out at all the workers I began to see the faces of so many that have walked into these girls lives and been invited into their stories, their realities, their lives that hold so much diversity and value and endurance.
I saw myself walking frantically between each of the projects… Wondering where to start… Trying to identify what needs to be fixed and finished and even forgotten.
But then... He stilled me… Because He told me I was in the piles, too.
And I was being found just like they were.
Found in the mess.
Found amidst the transformation and chaos and labor.
I began to see my own construction site.
And it didn’t seem as dramatic or impossible or intimidating.
Because God’s kindness in bringing in the teams, the back up, the reinforcements in my own life helped me know that these girls aren’t walking without that same reality in their own stories, in their own processes, their own journeys.
And to enter back in during this time made me realize that I still get to be part of it, too.
In whatever way the Lord will allow.
Because with each meal I share with them.
And with every song we sing together.
And with every hug I squeeze them with.
And every kiss that I give their brown cheeks.
I get to be part of it.
Whatever it is...
Whatever stage in the process they’re at.
And I’m not anxious or worried about when it might be over or when I’ll step onto the plane in a little over a week and I’ll have to say goodbye again...
Because they’re still part of me.
And I have to believe I’m still part of them.
In this mix of stories and breakthroughs and victories and battles.
I still feel part of it all.
And I’ll always be able to enter in, that I am certain of, that I have true confidence in.
-Corinne Carver, former intern