break my heart till it moves my hands and feet

I really love music.  I can’t sing or play an instrument or keep a beat, but I can listen.  I listen in the car.  I listen while I’m baking.  I listen on the plane.  Everywhere, really.  iTunes and Pandora and KLOVE are my best friends.  A line from a song that was on the radio while I was driving to my internship today has stuck with me:

“Why don’t you break my heart ’til it moves my hands and feet?”

How true this has become in my own life.

I’ve never really felt like I have passions.  I’m not into playing guitar or sewing or Africa or photography.  I like a lot of things.  I’m not good at a whole lot.  That being said, for some reason, my heart doesn’t break  a whole lot.

Yet God knows that it needs to so that I can learn to love like He does.

Today I took a father, Jo, and his son, Steven, to a pediatric cardiologist.  They’re refugees.  I’ve had a lot of interaction with the boy’s mother, Ja, in recent weeks, so I’ve had a fair amount of contact with the family.  Ja had surgery about three weeks ago so I’ve been picking her up and bringing her home from ‘school’ at the refugee center where I’m interning.  I’ve been asking her about her life and she’s been telling me about it.  Here’s some of their story:

Ja says that she’s from Burundi, but she’s never been there.  She lived the first 28 years of her life in refugee camps in Tanzania and Kenya.

The only home she knew was a tent.

There are two bedroom tents, three bedroom tents, depending on how many family members you have, she tells me.

But they’re still tents.

Every two weeks they get food, which they have to make last for two weeks.  Some people grow things outside of the camp, but if you don’t, all you have to eat is what you’re given at the camp.

When she first came to America, she lived in Maryland, with her husband and their five children.

Her son Steven has had a few heart surgeries and currently has a hernia.  He also wears hearing aids but is nearly deaf.  Steven recently got glasses as his vision is rapidly declining as well.  Steven is 12 years old, and is Ja and Jo’s oldest child.

Jo rides his bike an hour to an hour and half every day to work at a meatpacking plant.  His shift begins at 3pm in the afternoon, and finishes at 1am.  He then rides his bike back home, arriving around 2 or 2:30 in the morning.

Recently, Ja and Jo had to go to court for a child neglect case.  Ja left their children at home while Jo was at work one afternoon, and now the family is being monitored by Child Protection Services.

At a meeting at the refugee center where someone from Child Protection Services was presenting about a month ago, Ja stood up and said, “Before I came to America, I was told that the government would teach me how to be a parent.  I didn’t have parents growing up.  I grew up in refugee camps.  No one told me I couldn’t leave my kids at home with their brother who is 12.”

Spending time with Ja, and now Jo and Steven, has broken my heart.  To the point that my hands and feet are moving.  Jesus is helping me see how He loves them and doesn’t want me to just watch these things happen and go unnoticed.  I love this family.  They may not have much to offer me and they may be refugees and they may not get me a job or into graduate school, but I love them.  May my hands and feet move and show them that they are loved by Jesus and by me.


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