When a Rwandan woman named Odette asked Jen if she could use her phone, so many months ago it's now been years, Jen's intuition told her, "This one will cause you trouble." We joked about that last week, calling it the understatement of the century.
The road she's been on ever since that day--reuniting Odette with her two daughters--has turned her life so upside down and inside out that the internal workings of her heart and her soul are nearly unrecognizable. She would be the first to say that this is why she has received more from this adventure than anything she gave.
When the rest of us were invited into this story, we were welcomed into it in the same manner. Many of us have felt surprise at how much room in our hearts Odette and her girls have inhabited. How deeply we've cared, how strongly we've longed for this famly to have a happy ending.
But Odette's gifts were for all of us, as well. She gave us long stories, and the kind of friendship that only comes from long telling and long listening. Her stories kindled our hope and fueled our dreams. They fed our belief in love, especially the kind of love that can turn strangers into sisters.
A community of hope was born through this story, and now, along with the longing, we all get to share in the knowledge that we do not hope in vain. That we ourselves can be a source (and when we are in need, a recipient) of the kind of fierce love that hears, This one will cause you trouble, and says, Yes, anyway. This love could break your heart--I won't lie--but it has taught me that in the end, it always gives more than it takes.
This journey has lifted us, sobered us, humbled us, and at times brought us to our knees. It has pushed up against and then broken down the boundaries we constructed around love, the ideas we had about how much was too much to give to, or too much to receive from another person. We will never be the same.
Now it is time to join our hearts and hands and give thanks.
Love always wins.
It's not too late to help cover the costs of this amazing reunion.