Pa Moja (We Are Together)
May 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
We often joke that Flying Kites is ‘parent training camp,’ living in this old colonial house with twenty seven children; with rabbits, chickens, cats, and safari ants; with leaks and bad dreams, PTA meetings and tooth fairies, doctors and Dr. Suess. While twists and needs are relentless, they fall into perspective beneath a pervasive river of laughter and light. We dig to find strength and clarity. We dig to be firm and gentle; to prepare but have faith; to charge with bright energy but float with patience. And we do it all for the simple hope of inspiring some lasting mark of sustained growth in just one life, or for the ambitious, twenty seven and beyond.
The irony of this pursuit is that in all our wishing for happiness and fulfillment in the life of another, we give the same extraordinary gifts to our self. In exercising love, we become more fit to love. By seeking to inspire, we ourselves are inspired! In living passionately in pursuit of our dreams, we teach this poetic virtue. And by giving ourselves wholly and graciously to the current of this benevolent circle, we achieve influence and make a mark on the life of another and our own with more depth and magnificence than we could ever have imagined before. This is what great parents do.
In light of this, I want to honor parents who know the power and beauty of sacrifice; parents who may not deal often with safari ants, but know full well the resolve and self-discipline required to raise a child fit enough to climb above the inconceivable whir of our surroundings; parents who better our world and their children by bettering themselves.
With Mother’s Day approaching, let’s take this one step further. Let’s kneel with gratitude to the women and mothers, genetic or kinetic, who give our lives meaning and comfort and joy. For some of us this starts with one and extends out to a whole team of women who gave their love and guidance to us without need for return. Take a moment to bring this person, or these people, to your mind. Imagine their face, the warmth of their love for you, and send that wish of love back. The importance of these people in our upbringing is beyond value.
For me, the first is Victoria Elizabeth Jones. My mother. And from her came many extraordinary women, whose grace and compassion were key in sculpting me. But for me, my mother is the inner most core of my being. And it wasn’t until I moved to Kenya, that I realized just how lucky I am to have a mother; one living this day with me, sharing her wisdom and beautiful self with me, even over great distance. The painful truth is that there are many in our world who have lost this source of light, who either in a slow fade or in the blink of an eye, lost their mother and father. Imagine this happening to you, your life forever flipping in a day, like a switch. Reader, there is a massive and vital lesson to be learned in this thought. And for those who have endured this reality, there is hope. Bright, blinding hope.
The first lesson is as tired as most well recognized truths are, but no matter how loving we might be, we can neither satisfy or exhaust it. This truth is that you can never tell your mother that you love her enough. You can never repay her or overly show gratitude, so you’re best to spend every day humble and trying. The same goes for a father. No matter your history with these important pieces of your being, you can never learn enough from them, both through successes and faults. They could be gone by the time you finish reading this, by the end of the week, maybe not for decades to come, but let death be our advisor. A mother is a sacred gift. And the reason for this is love. And thanks to the transformative power of love, there is hope, dear reader, there is HOPE!
We can never bring back a mother lost. But we can love. Purely and brilliantly, we can love! And no matter the degree of pain or tragedy or darkness, love is enough to give life purpose and limitless value again. And this, reader, is what we are doing in Kenya, through Flying Kites. We are building family through love; becoming mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles through love. From scratch, it can be done. And this is not the climax of the story; it’s just the beginning! Family is identity, and identity is ownership and purpose. This is what drives us to dream and sacrifice! This platform is what so many others miss. When you meet this base with an excellent education and excellent healthcare you can produce the future leaders of our world, who will fight poverty from the inside. This is what we are cultivating, and the results are walking and singing. Reader, we are not just helping the vulnerable children of our world find love and purpose, we are seeing them to the palpable reality of their dreams. This is what great families do! And I can tell you without an ounce of reservation, that just as quickly as any source of light in someone’s life can be switched off by fate, so too can be it be switched back on. Hold faith in this! It’s true. I am blessed to watch it bloom every day.
Now, look closely at these faces. These faces embody sacrifice and true love. These are the mothers of Flying Kites. They are here because of people like you, who believe in the immeasurable value of mothers and wish this gift of love and identity for a child who has lost their mother. In these women I see my mother and all that she means to who I am today. If you wish to share this invaluable gift, please act on that wish. We need your action. Just Click.
I asked a few of the kids what they would like me to tell the world about their mothers, and this is what they said:
“Our mom’s are the best in the world. They have proven true love, and they are always there for us. Always. Because of this, my life is different. They make our days brighter.” Francis
“My mom works so hard for me. She sleeps close to me and makes me feel safe. She comforts me when I am sick. I love my mom.” Lucy W.
“My moms are the best moms. My life without them would be so hard, but instead my life is spectacular.” Rahab
“Our moms take care for us very well, like our first mom. They teach us how to cook things, so that when we grow up we will know how to take care of ourselves. And cooking will of course help us get good girlfriends.” Joseph
“They are my best friends. I want to be like them.” Miriam
“They make jokes with us. They show us how to knit. They are the best dancers in the world. I love them.” Eunice
“I love our moms so much. They cook for us very very great. They take me to the hospital when I’m sick. They help me with my homework. They feed us every morning. They feed us every afternoon, and they even feed us every evening. We love them so much and much.” Benson
What I want to tell my mom is this:
Thank you for all you have done to pour love and brightness upon my life. I am madly in love with you, and I will forever live in humble debt to you for the way you have taught my brothers and I to be swoon and hungry by the beauty of this world. The strength you exert to welcome students and passing messengers into your ever-growing family, and share with them your grace and creative guidance is a gift to generations of families to come. I wish that I could be with you this Mother’s Day. I wish it very badly. But I will instead be playing a role that you have inspired and empowered me to fulfill. I love you for all that you are and all you represent, mom. You are as much of this world as you are not.
I also welcome my new cousin, Samuel, to this bright and glorious planet. I am proud to be yours, and to Juli and Paul, you are already the kind of parents our world pines for more of. Soak in the brilliance of your creation!
Reader, help us rescue a child through love. Honor your mother by giving a mother to an orphaned child. Commit to $10 or $20 dollars per month. Commit to trading three cocktails or four coffees to the life of another, and we’ll send this beautiful thought and gift to your mother through our Mother’s Day Campaign. And help us get the need out. Post it as your facebook status, email to your friends, tape it to your car window! We can forever alter the course of a life. Is there a better way to start your day?
Your compassion can change our world. Thank you for this act of love.
“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”
~William D. Tammeus