It’s been a long, slow journey. Kind of like grief itself. But what was once a barren field in rural Nepal became a metaphor for the lifelessness I felt after losing a son. I can name off the events, but I still don’t know quite what insanity led a grieving family to attempt a task on this scale. None of us knew anything about fundraising. And throughout the entire process, I would have preferred to grieve quietly, alone in my room, than work and work at something only to fall short of our goals each and every month. This house wasn’t going to be built. I didn’t need another failure on top of the sense of failure that was tearing my soul apart. But I kept going, because of stories like Meena’s. Even as I feared what it would mean to invest so much of myself into something that was bound to fail.
It brought us across the midwest, speaking to small groups and churches. It helped us make new friends.
It brought us together with old friends.
It kept boxes of jewelry packed in my SUV, whether we were on our way to Texas or just to a little craft show in the next town.
And it brought me to talk to neighbors I had never spoken to in order to ask for unwanted items. They helped us fill the church with donated things for a name-your-price garage sale.
One of the carnival workers nervously gave me $2 for a bike and a stack of children’s clothing. I thanked her, glad we could help someone closer to home. Another woman gave us a check for $40 for a basket. The one that made me cry, however, was the lady from the nursing home who heard what we were doing and walked over with a handful of change she had on her dresser. It was all she had.
Grief has a way of leaving you disconnected from the world. Watching people give of themselves has a way of reconnecting you.
And somehow, a handful of change at a time, we made the goal. Work began.
But this is Nepal. Homes don’t pop up overnight. There is a communist government to work with that in one moment approves your paperwork and in the next is talking about throwing out all the Christian organizations. There’s the weather and the landscape, equally as temperamental and equally as harsh. And then there’s the materials. Holding up the second floor with bamboo poles?
It all seems so shaky. Nothing is firm. Like after Mattias died. I don’t know quite how to explain it. If you’ve lost a child, you may understand. But it’s kind of like that song, “…all other ground is sinking sand.” We sing it. We understand it. We believe it on some level. But after losing a child, for a time, you see the sand. You see it shifting and blowing in the wind. You realize how little this world really has to offer because none of it lasts.
But the souls of these children do. So we wait. There’s nothing else we can do.
And the bamboo poles are replaced with brick and mortar and mudded in.
Rocks are laid on the exterior.
And it’s beginning to look like a house. I don’t know how long the construction season lasts in this land of unpredictability. But a dream is taking shape. A home is being built.