A while ago, I read a quote that said “…Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess..”
Reflecting on this quote now as I think back at a joyful, challenging, get-inside-your-heart-and-twirl- around-the-waves-of-your-watery-thoughts, experience that I took part in yesterday. Helping at a small, humble school at the top of a worn down building, where inside life, noise, tears, smiles and screams were all being mixed together as autistic children aged between 2-12 were being accompanied by tired yet strong Chinese mothers, grandmothers and aunties.
With some Chinese students from school, dressed in a white hoodie with symbols of hands and faces on, twiddling my thumbs and wondering how I had thrown myself into the deep end again, we set out. Though nervous, I was aware of a feeling of gratitude that helped me see what a privilege it was to, once again, walk with the Chinese youth on a path of service.
I was paired with a little girl called 悦悦，yueyue, meaning pleased/happy/joy. She was gangly in figure, with spindly legs that looked like chopsticks, but which I soon found out loved to be moving and dancing. She didn’t speak much. Words were replaced with lots of laughter (laughter which came from touching and joyfully squeezing my very ‘western’, large and ‘tall’ nose!) and a curious nature which caused her to bend half of her body, then cock her head up, gazing at you with her almond shaped warm brown eyes.
With her spindly legs and my twiddling thumbs we found a common language.
The disabled and vulnerable are, for the most part in China, still tucked away in a labeled box that might read ‘we don’t know how to deal with you’.
But children are the MOST precious treasure a community can possess. In light of what happened yesterday with curious yueyue whose ears would hearken to the sound of children crying, who would then grab them and stare at them with her owl eyes, I ask the question: Is she too not a precious jewel? A jewel that can also cause the stirring of life in our hearts? A jewel who can cause the realization that caring and utlizing our energies for the care of the vulnerable is a gift and responsiblity for all of us? A jewel who laughs and feels joy, thus serving and changing those around her in an invaluable way: by feeding the spirit of all those whom she comes in contact with.
You move in your own world,
Can I join you?
My legs are not so spindly,
But they can move.
Can you teach me the dance
I will be patient,
But can I ask for your patience
With the words I read
The body of the world,
With the laughter
So I will try,
And hear with my spirit,
Of your world,