How do you prepare for your heart to be broken? I’ve been pondering this a LOT lately – but really, always thinking about my daughter on the World Race. For 8 months, Nikki has been loving the marginalized people of our world. She has held the hands of the destitute in Costa Rica and offered them food and love, she has bathed and cuddled a 1 year old who lives on the street in Cambodia. She has looked a prostitute in the eyes in Thailand and told her she is worthy of true love and a life away from her hellish reality. Her days in Malaysia included physical therapy sessions with an 86 year old blind stroke victim named Aunty Margaret, giving her mobility and some relief from her daily pains. I have watched her see people as God sees them, with love and compassion. And I have watched her heart be broken for them. Her new normal is a life of compassion, always. But there is no sadness here. In the midst of it all, her joy has increased. How do you prepare for your heart to be broken? Today, I turn this question to myself. What initially was seen as an opportunity to spend a week with our daughter on the World Race on their Parent Vision Trip has turned into a stretching and growing exercise. I am about to take a flying leap out of my comfort zone and into a hellish street in Angeles City in the Philippines. Every night, this street holds between 12,000 and 15,000 girls who offer their bodies for sale. They have entered this life in order to eat, and send money to their families to feed their siblings or their own children. They tell their families they have found good jobs.
The minimum wage for legit workers in the Philippines is the equivalent of $11 USD for a 10 to 12 hour day, which keeps even college graduates firmly at the poverty line. These girls sometimes make a bowl of soup and a handful of rice. They sometimes are paid a few dollars per day. Occasionally, they make equal to minimum wage. Obviously, the tourists who come here to buy a girl for the night or a week are paying much more than that. The bar owners are the profiteers.
I am sick.
This morning I awoke with a sense of dread. How do I prepare for my heart to be broken?
I feel the tears at the rims of my eyelids, just waiting to spill out. But I must overcome this. I need to be able to see these girls with a heart of love and compassion tonight, and do what my daughter has been doing. Offer them a way out.
A new life.
I believe the answer to this question is – there is no way to prepare. It could be worse than I anticipate. It could be better, but I doubt it.
These girls are someone’s daughters. And I am joining with my daughter to offer them hope.