Feeling The Love

The following is a post that I made in 2010 on my then-church’s blog during a mission trip to Thailand. I am posting it here today because it informs a post that I will be here sharing tomorrow. It lays the groundwork for changes that I made in my life following this trip as well as the realizations that have unfolded since. Much like my trip to India, Thailand was a transformational experience for me and shifted the nature of my spiritual path.

April 2, 2010

I noticed today that the only word the girls can spell in English is LOVE.

I came on this trip because I could feel a well inside of me overflowing with love and I wanted to share. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for little girls that takes root in childhood experiences that would dampen this post if detailed, so I’ll skip it for now. Suffice it to say, I can relate to these girls on a deeper level.

The thing that’s ironic about my initial thoughts is that while I have been sharing my love with these girls, it is really them that have been showing me the love. Somehow I thought it would be work to get them to trust me, but from the moment I first stepped onto the grounds of Udon Thani Orphanage, they loved me. Two girls immediately took my hands and showed me around. It wasn’t long before I had a posse of four to look after my every need. They’ve carried my bag, gotten my chairs, brought me fans to stay cool, made me pictures, and on and on. These same four girls have been by my side every moment since.

When the vans pull up in the morning, the girls come running with open arms and vibrant smiles. When the vans pull away in the evening, the girls stay by the window waving and making the ‘I love you’ sign with their hands. So far, I’ve been okay leaving the orphanage in the evening (and even somewhat relieved after several very exhausting days), but I know that on our last day there will be no relief. I know this because even the thought of saying goodbye to these beautiful children brings up buried emotions.

Despite my sadness at leaving, these last few days have been healing for me. I know that despite the ugliness I had to experience, there IS love out there, all you need to do is reach for it.

My overflowing well of love is now more like a river that I hope will spill out onto the banks of my life to be shared with everyone in it. Whether I know you or not, I love you and I think these girls probably do too.

All my love,
Stephanie

2 thoughts on “Feeling The Love”

  1. St Thomas Aquinas called it Beatitudo — the incredibly deep happiness that springs from being good to other people. If you could bottle it, you’d make a fortune! It seems you have discovered an unlimited supply of it being managed by a group of orphans in Thailand. There is great irony in that.

    1. So much irony and an incredibly profound experience for me – one of such depth that the revelations continue to this day. A beautiful and relevant quote from St. Thomas, “Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”

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