I’ll set the stage for you…
Today was my country cohort’s first full day of a “Sunday in Hungary” (definitely not everyone in Hungary’s Sunday, but definitely a view on a more “real culture” vs. tourist culture).
After a service in a Lutheran church in Nyírtelek (specifically Filadelfia Evangélikus Egyházközsèg- a church specifically placed in the middle of what used to be the “poorer” side of town and the “richer” side of town so everyone felt welcome), our group traveled to Görögszállás. We had the opportunity to tour the AMAZING community garden there, accept the hospitality of a DELICIOUS lunch, and get to know/hear the stories from the Roma individuals who live in the area (which was the best part, I think!).
Of course, as most of you can probably see coming, I tried befriending all the children I could (there were no more than ten). But I realized after attempting to play games with the outgoing boys (who I usually subconsciously magnetize to), that I wasn’t actually trying to befriend all the kids. I was just trying to befriend the ones who had similar outgoing personalities as me…
Then, I turned toward the young girl who was clinging onto her grandfather as a safety blanket and thought to myself, “Why doesn’t she get the same chance to receive your love too, Sydney? Encouraging her to receive it may just take a little longer than it does with the outgoing boys.”
It was true; she didn’t want all my love right away (it seemed). I think she may have been a little too nervous. But after a few more minutes than I would normally use to encourage a child to play with me before trying another kiddo, we started playing a hand game she showed me how to play (without saying much, by the way). I messed up more than one time, which made her laugh, and I think this encouraged her to “let go a little bit of her safety blanket” (taking a few steps away from her grandpa). Now (I think), she didn’t feel the need to touch him. It took courage (on both of our parts) to continue opening ourselves up to each other (knowing we didn’t have the same reactions to meeting people for the first time). Our day went on together that didn’t include much of understanding each other’s words (because speaking a different language is hard no matter what language it is), but I think we understood each other’s hearts.
She is such a special girl to me, and I had no reservations this evening saying “anytime with her today” was the “highlight of my day” in a group discussion.
Let me tell ya, I’m really thanking God right now for this girl rocking my world today.