Happiness doesn’t need clothing

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At first I only saw the naked children- and my heart cried.

Teams stream in through The Brooks house weekly, coming to this little place to find something their soul is seeking. Affirmation, an extension of their world, putting feet to faith- whatever their reasoning they pack up their bags, board the plane and make the 3 hour dust eating trip to the little abode. Usually they crash the first night exhausted from a day of traveling. Bright and early the next morning they’ll be up though, earlier than they normally would be. It is hard to sleep through the sun and heat pouring in through the windows or the sounds of the roosters crowing. After a morning meeting and breakfast they are sent our to Jubilee. I can clearly remember riding in the back of the truck the first day I went to Jubilee. I remember how shocking the poverty was. I identified the poverty in the mud homes, in the piles of trash and most of all, in the naked children. And I wanted to cry.

Now I see my naked children and smile.

Somewhere between then and now something has changed. Daily life has set in. Piles of trash and sewage in the streets is normal. I see beauty all around me and pity rarely chokes my thoughts. Because I see the naked children and smile with them. Ecclesiaste rarely comes to after school tutoring in clothes. He just doesn’t like to wear them. We call them the kids play clothes. After school is out the kids go home, take off their blue uniforms and either throw on a oversized t-shirt or put on their play clothes. They do not have a problem with it- so why should I? Most of the kids prefer to be barefoot and will throw off their tennis shoes every chance they get. Their feet are tough, why wear sweaty shoes and socks? Before I looked at them with pity in my own arrogance. Now I desire to be barefoot with them. I often walk around without shoes, strengthening my own soles on the rocks. It no longer really registers when a kid is naked. I no longer feel the need to pity them for it. They are mostly happy. But moreover, this is just normal life. I appreciate that. I love that. I cherish that. They do not bemoan it, so neither will I.

Once I saw naked children and my heart cried in desperation “why God would you allow this to happen?” Now I see my children running around in their play clothes and realize Happiness doesn’t need clothing.

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