To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
– George MacDonald
Today at the orphanage we did a beading craft with the children that taught me a valuable lesson in trust. After an intense game of wolves and geese (apparently the Rwandan version of sharks and minnows) we headed inside to make necklaces and bracelets. It took some of the children up to 45 minutes to string enough beads to make a necklace big enough to fit over their heads. With their tiny fingers and lack of coordination it was quite a difficult process and it was so amazing to see their faces light up when they finally finished. Things were going well for most of the afternoon and then disaster struck. One of the younger children, his face full of pride and delight, held up his string of beads to show me. With a look of complete trust he handed me the string to tie it into a necklace, and as the enormous string of beads changed hands, it slipped between my fingers. I watched in horror as the beads bounced and ricocheted in every direction across the floor and waited for the screams that were sure to follow. Surprisingly enough, he was silent. He looked sadly at the floor for a moment and then bent over and started picking up his scattered beads. I sat on the floor to help him collect whatever beads we could find and as we finished, I told him I was sorry that his necklace was broken. As he was standing, he placed his tiny hands on my legs to steady himself and replied, “It’s ok Auntie Suzanna, we try again.”
I was blown away by the amazing attitude of this small child who had worked so hard, and with so much determination, only to watch his creation be destroyed in a matter of seconds, slipping through the fingers of an adult he trusted. The most impressive thing of all was that he still trusted me. When he finished stringing his second necklace (30 minutes later) he again chose me to tie the knot. He had another option, Auntie Viola, but instead decided to place his faith in a person who had already let him down once. We finished his necklace, placed it around his neck, and went outside to play. He climbed to the top of the small jungle gym and, with a heart full of trust, jumped off the top bar and into my arms.
The trust of a child is a beautiful thing to behold. It amazes me that these children, who have already lost so much, and been disappointed by so many, can continue to trust blindly like only children can. It is truly humbling to have a child trust you with this blind faith that you can do no wrong. So many of the children here have given me their hearts and trust me to support and love them. Earlier today a child slipped their hand inside mine and softly whispered, “I love you Auntie Suzanna.” It is overwhelming to have a child offer trust and love so easily, especially when I know I will be leaving in two short years. Since I cannot take them all home to call my own I pray that they will one day experience the unconditional love of a parent so they can place their trust in someone who will never leave. Until that day I am happy to play “Auntie” and spend my days playing, offering love and unlimited hugs, and trying really hard to not destroy any more craft projects!