In the corner of a shared office here at Orphan’s Lifeline, sits an unattended file cabinet; unattended, but not forgotten, and never completely absent from the part of my brain that harbors feelings of regret. Perhaps it’s not as much regret, but rather that sad feeling you get when you read about someone passing that you didn’t really know.
Even though you didn’t know them personally, you feel a sense of loss and sadness because you are not only familiar with the feeling from personal experience, but you are instinctively sensitive to that suffering because of the compassion instilled into you by God Himself.
In that file cabinet, there in the corner, are hundreds of manila folders filled with documents that have sat untouched for a number of years now.
Each folder is very similar in terms of content. They contain a general profile, a self-filled assessment form and the individual profiles of orphan children. They are applications for aid from existing or proposed children’s homes that have been sent to us from countries all over the world in years past.
There are hundreds of them. But truth be told there would be thousands of them if not for one thing. A number of years ago, we simply stopped accepting them. That’s right. We put a notification on our website that told the visiting person that we no longer accepted applications for funding of children’s homes.
The fact is that it had become an exercise in futility to even collect them. Beyond that, we had determined that it wasn’t even fair to allow them to apply, and therein give them false hope that they might receive help from us in the near future. The truth was far from that and it might have kept them from seeking help elsewhere and perhaps even receiving it.
It wasn’t always that way. When we expanded outside of Russia, our revenues were nearly doubling each and every year. We were actively seeking countries to expand into. But year by year, that growth slowed. Year by year, the needs of the current homes increased as inflation impacted costs and as we increased the scope of the care we provided to include things like ongoing support for young adults that were moving on to college and trade school.
Finally, we came to a point where we knew it was time. Time to make the decision not to accept new applications. A truly sad day. A sad day because it came with the realization that there were far more orphans out there than there were people interested in, or able to help them. It seemed as though our piece of the pie was much smaller than we had hoped for…prayed for.
The reality is that we live in a world in which the percentage of people who give to others in need is much smaller than it could be…should be. The reality is that this percentage doesn’t really grow either. It stays the same. That means that it is indeed much like a pie and the slice we have, although it does grow in size each and every year, is much smaller than it needs to be when you consider the tiny percentage of the world’s orphans that we are helping. Quite frankly, millions of innocent orphan children go without any kind of help at all…without any kind of hope at all.
That makes the unattended file cabinet in the corner quite a painful reflection of reality.
But “through the looking glass,” I see an alternative reality. An alternative world.
In that world, the file cabinet is empty. In fact, in that world, the file cabinet was never full to begin with.
In that world, the trillions of dollars spent on war, were never spent because the wars never happened. Instead, the money was spent helping the poor; the orphans, and the widows. It was spent over the last fifty years in the world’s poorest places and done in the name of God. In that world, peace reigns because mankind has worked together in the name of God and His name is synonymous with a compassion that has brought the people of the world together.
In that world, hatred does not divide us. Nobody riots and destroys lives and property over their differences, but instead they seek to find the common ground that binds us together and that common ground is centered around our common belief in God and His son, Jesus. From that belief, forgiveness is common; compassion is prevalent; selflessness, not selfishness rules the day.
In that world, nobody hesitates to stop and help the person whose car is broken down on the side of the road. They do so without fear and there is nothing to fear. They do so because it is the right thing to do and whatever it was they were on their way to do has become of secondary importance to the needs of the stranded person…a brother or sister in need.
In that world, every orphan has a home. Every widow has a place to call home and is cared for and loved. Yes, the orphans and widows all have a home because the piece of the pie for them is much larger in this world without war, hatred, greed and apathy.
In that world, the torrent of rains that have fallen on Texas, have instead fallen on the mountains of Montana and put out the fires that are ravaging tens of thousands of acres of forest and destroying homes and pristine land. In that world, Texas and its people aren’t suffering either. They are not fighting to stay above the flood waters that keep rising, threatening life and property for tens of thousands.
In that world, just beyond the looking glass, there is enough food for everyone. There is enough of everything for everyone.
Unfortunately, this side of heaven, such a world can only exist in dreams and stories. Which means it is up to us who can, and are willing, to do what we can to make this world a little more like the one beyond the looking glass. It is up to us to set the precedence for future generations.
We are so thankful for each and every one of you and your compassion for the orphan children!
Orphan Sunday 2017 is just around the corner in November. It is a day in which hundreds of churches take up a special offering for the orphan children we have all come together as Christians to love and care for. It is and has been the event what bridges the gap between what we have in monthly gifts and what it takes to care for the children we currently have in our homes as well as a modest expansion to help more orphan children. There are millions who still suffer without hope.
The unattended file cabinet in the corner of the office is a stark reminder of that fact.
When Alice went “through the looking glass,” she found a wonderland, or at least so she thought. But, in the end she wondered if it was nothing more than a dream. And even beyond that, wondered if she was the dreamer or if in fact, was the dream…a figment of the imagination of someone living in wonderland.
For all of us here at Orphan’s Lifeline, and for all of our partners in this mission, there is something we should all consider: When we think about the world I described earlier, are we the dreamers…or the dream?
Because were such a world to exist, certainly there would be nobody more likely to dream of such a place than the millions of orphans out there in the world. It is they, more than anyone who would dream of going to such a place…simply by taking one little step…through the looking glass…