It arrived inauspiciously one recent Saturday morning:
A large cardboard box, mis-shapen and crushed in spots, straining at it’s taped seams. It was stamped with an unusual red stamp and words with foreign characters. We read ETHIOPIAN MAIL in English on it’s side. And then it all made sense. Those were Amharic words and the package had made a long journey. A journey from the East of Africa, across a continent and an ocean to our doorstep in Hanover, Virginia.
Tamer, Kalkidan and Andinet wanted to tear it open as fast as they could. Frankly, they were amazed and somewhat overcome by it. I said we should take it in for a few minutes. We might never see one like this again.
As they worked on the seams, treasures began pouring out. Bags full of food, photos, a letter. All reminders of their home.
The food, they said, is called kolo. It was a mixture of nuts, seeds and grains. I would have mistaken it for bird food. The girls sniffed it…and touched it…and ran their fingers through it for a long time… before they tasted it and then savored it.
They savored it. These girls of mine, who eat the best of what America has to offer everyday. The cheeseburgers, the pizza, the ice cream sundaes. They savored the kolo. Because it was a taste of their true home.
Most of us eat the best of what America has to offer. It can be pretty satisfying most of the time. For a while at least. But then discontent edges in. Our plenty doesn’t truly satisfy. We long for more. More food, more entertainment, more pleasure, , more love…
Because we were created for more than this. Created with eternity in our hearts, as King Solomon said. We were created for our true and eternal home… and we’re not there yet.
Along with the food and photos of Ethiopia, was a letter from the girls’ biological mother, addressed to me. Six years ago, she had made the hard decision to send them to a care center in Mekelle, Ethiopia, in the hope that an American family would adopt them. She loved them, but was a single mother with no way to support them. She had to leave them to go find work.
In the letter, written in English by a friend, Belaynesh addressed us, “Dear to the respected and lovely my family and children’s.” She thanked God for us. And then her hope, “I wish to you and your lovely family a happy and bright life in the future…”
I want to write back and say to Belaynesh, “Your wish has already been granted.”
For my God and yours, Belaynesh, has said, “At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.” (Zephaniah 3:20)
There will be a day, after our long journey, when you and I are amazed and overcome, when treasures will spill out of the seams. A day when we will taste and see that the LORD is good and we will savor every moment of our true home.