I don’t even know where to start.

All I know is there’ll be no fancy picture tonight. No catchy titles and witty, meaningless tags. No. Not tonight.

I’m furious. I’m sick. My stomach’s churching. I can feel my heart pounding. Exhaustion weighs so heavy on my shoulders, on my spirit. There’s no way you can read this with the passion I feel right now. No way you can know.

So much hurt. I’m hurting. We ate with another street kid. Just another street kid. Just another street kid I walked past. Just another street kid sniffing glue, dendrite. Just another filthy pair of child hands with a crumpled, filthy paper bag pressed tight against his filthy face.

But my pounding heart turned my steps. Deep sorrow clung to my legs like a stubborn beggar. He was probably sniffing to forget the hunger, to ward off the cold.

Retracing my steps, he was already coming my direction. I give a “Namaste” and a smile and he’s already begging. “Food?” He wants Nepali chicken dal bhat. I’m eager to go with him to find a meal. My heart set to fleeting rest.

But as he shovels his dirty, street-smudged face, a sickness swells inside. Just another meal for just another street kid. This is so wrong. This is messed up. By tonight he’ll be sniffing again. Inhaling the toxic air to get through another night. Anger swells at this egregious, blatant injustice. So wrong. This is wrong. For my brother or your son, we’d not sleep, not eat again until he was rescued from these filthy streets.

I’m furious this isn’t ending. Who’s doing anything? Is anyone doing anything? Does anyone care?

And I’m sick. I’m furious. Because I know how easy it will be for me to go back and just live my easy life. So comfortable. I’ll be busy, so busy. School, work, projects, friends. I’ll be eating in my school cafeteria again. So far from the street kids and beggars. So far. Sick, because I know how easy it will be to forget. To just go on.

“It’s too much to think about. You’re emotionally exhausted. You can’t fix everything. You’ve got to press on so you can help him someday. You can’t fix everything.”

Is that what you say? I can’t help but wonder if that’s what you’re thinking. Is that what you’re thinking? Because maybe there’s a voice inside trying to make myself feel better with thoughts like that.

Well it doesn’t.

Enough.

I can’t do everything. Will I do anything, about anything? Anything? Anything? Anything?

I don’t know what to say. Part of me just wants to forget for a while. To sleep.

But should I ever forget, I pray that one forgetful day as I eat some warm meal in some warm restaurant, I catch a glimpse of his face in some puddle of my mind, and I feel completely sick. And I can’t finish.

Maybe if you’d stared into his eyes. Watched him eat. Seen the smile stretch across his face as he talked about dendrite. Stared deep into his eyes. Maybe then you’d feel the same.

There’s no way you can know.

And forgive me. Forgive me if you do. His face is just one of millions. Maybe you’ve eaten with him. Held him. Stared into his eyes. Then maybe you know.

Maybe then.

I can’t sleep.

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10 Responses to “”

  1. my dear friend,

    we can’t know what you’ve experienced, what you’ve touched and smelled and felt. we just can’t. our imaginations can’t even do justice. please, don’t be disillusioned when you come back and you can sense that few really get you. (maybe even that few really care.) it’s okay…don’t despair…they’re on a journey, too. and the fact that they can’t relate and don’t connect with what you’ve felt doesn’t diminish–not ONE bit–the Truth that you’ve experienced. the Truth that you have touched and seen.

    you three have taken a strong gulp of the anguish of Christ. my Spirit is so unsettled for you. what a bitter cup! how I love Him anew, though, knowing that He felt the emptiness and lonliness of this sweet boy in Nepal, even as He ached on the Cross. He loved him, enough to pour out His life for him, even to the point of death.

    your discomfort, your sickness, your anguish has fanned my own little flame of constantly-burning discontent. do not despair…do not lose heart…you’ll not know how many little flames of holy discontent your experience has fanned. and that is His work, not yours. you just do what He calls you to do. He will bring on the blaze.

    i love you so, dear one. although my heart aches for you, i wouldn’t take this pain from you for anything. i get it.

  2. You do not know me nor I you, but my heart hurts with you. My heart’s desire for my own kids is to impress upon them the reality of this world ~as viewed through the eyes of Christ… that they will know the depth of His heart, His love…. that we are His hands and His feet. The calling is great and humbling…. I have seen the empathy of nations, such as India, as a young adult. My heart broke daily…now as a 40 yo wife/mother, I still have not forgotten. It burns deep within me. This journey takes so many turns and twists and it is by the grace of our Loving Lord that we catch these glimpses of reality, press forward to fulfill His calling and surrender it all to Him. He does feel, hear and weep for those who have no hope…we are His hands and feet, we are His revealing… if even to just one. May your heart be lifted up as you press on into Him. The pain, anger, frustration, guilt…He purchased it all. It is His! Glory to God!!

  3. Patrick my brother, this is by far the most transparent, most profound, most simple, most disturbing, and somehow most encouraging thing you guys have written. In the midst of despair and doubt and pain comes the most poignant, genuine realizations of truth. Before the Gospel is Good News, it is simply news, like CNN with the sound turned off. It’s just the way things are.

    I do know how you feel. You know I do. I’ve seen that boy in so many other places. You are not alone in this, and you know you aren’t, even though it feels like that in the heaviest sense. Brother, don’t settle for the easy answers people will give you for this. Don’t settle for the half-truths and superficial relationships that so many will prop up to try and replace the depth of your emotions. Feel it, man. Let it tear you apart and put you back together. You know I don’t have any answers, just the same questions. Just live those, let them grow to counter the sickening apathy that you see. Don’t forget how you feel right now. I won’t let you, and don’t let me forget what I’ve seen. Intentionality is vital.

    Feel it, ask it, think it, hate it, love it, seek it, live it, follow it. Whatever “it” is. I respect you and I love you, brother. Live inside and engage the absence and presence of God and this Gospel, which somehow mingles despair and hope, death and life, suffering and joy. Discomfort and peace to you.

  4. You’ll sleep again. You’ll eat again. You’ll forget for longer and longer intervals. But first, for awhile, you’ll be even more sick. You’ll be even more infuriated. You’ll feel greater discouragement and smallness. Not because of the boy, but because of the church. They won’t understand. They won’t really even listen. They won’t share your passion or pain. Prepare yourself for that sickness, that anger, that disgusting powerlessness.

    So what to do? Anything?

    Oh. Oh my, my yes. Yes and yes! Lots to do. Much you can and must do.

    Talk. Tell. Share your passion without shame or reserve. Care. Care for the hungry of the world with your work if possible and through your donations with regularity. Tell their story–because some will be enlightened and moved; because some will be reminded and recommitted; because everyone needs to be faced with little boys sniffing glue, little girls sold at night, old people stashed away in ‘homes’, and the handicapped ingnored.

    Tell your story. Share your passion. Do your best…and be thankful.

    Some scold God for the imbalance of goods in the world. That’s foolish. God doesn’t hoard goods. God doesn’t shine the sun on one and not to all. God isn’t the author of corrunption, or disease, or immorality. Don’t become frustrated with Him. Rather, give thanks.

    Thank Him for your own goods. Thank Him for exposure to the kids on the street. Appreciate His placement of you in the position, skills, associations, and means to influence on behalf of those who are not so positioned. It isn’t His design for the kids to be hungry, it is his design to undo that wrong…..through you. Be grateful for such a high calling. Consider yourself a “Joseph” and manage the kingdom well.

    Now, come home. Get your rest. Then do your work. Take care not to become focused on those of us who will not listen or understand. Don’t be derailed by the obese culture you’ll re-enter. Rather, pace yourselves. Work your plans. Tell your story…and….take hold the power that IS able to level the field. Pray harder than ever in your lives, for no matter what your prayers yield….your prayers will have effect, if only to race the hearts of new Joseph’s.

  5. I don’t even know what to say…all i know if you need to hang on to those thoughts. As much as they hurt, do not let them escape. Because yest you will come back to the States and it will be so easy to get used to the school life, the busy life with friends, and the small, pointless things we worry about and dwell upon daily…but it doesn’t have to be that way.
    Reading your blog brought back thoughts and visions of things i have seen. Pictures that had been in my head and had been fading have become so clear again. Those thoughts and visions staying fresh in our minds is what gets us to do something. Even if right now we don’t know what to do about it, at least we are thinking and not letting it slip away. So to echo what John said…let it tear you apart and put you back together….that is how God works. He works on those of us who are torn and need Him to figure things out piece by piece.

  6. Patrick,

    Thank you so much for your transparency and passion in this post! Thank you for your honesty… Memories do start to fade, and the pain of the knife in your chest will start to dull… but the flame will not die. It may flicker. You may forget it exists, but God can breathe it to a stronger state than ever! He is the only one who can sustain this passion that you feel.

    My stomach has been churning ever since I read your update this morning… Slowly draining the growing apathy from my mindset. I remember… the joy. the pain. the hunger. the need. . . being in the heart of helplessness. And yes. as Mr. Meeks (?) mentioned, I also remember pouring my heart out into the deaf ear of the church. . . it hurts. Yet it is good… there is nowhere to turn but further into the arms of our Father, and that is where we truly belong…

  7. Shepherd, unfortunately, I don’t know you personally. I say “unfortunately” because I believe that I would learn alot from your example and witness for Christ, as well as your love for people.

    I have been reading your journal during your travel. You and your friends have been so engaging with the people there. I know that they are experiencing the love of Christ through you, your love and your meals with them.

    While reading today’s journal entry (at first, I thought that my MacBook had failed due to there not being a pic to load!), I understand your anger and frustration (I went on a mission trip to Ukraine in May, 2001) and, I too, fell in love with the people there and wanted to take many home. And, while I have been home for a little over eight years since, there aren’t too many days when I don’t think about them! And, since my visit, one of the guys I stayed with has married and had a child!

    I believe that, with the love and concern you have for people, coupled with the experience you’ve had in serving them as Christ would, you will NEVER forget them and will continue lifting them up in prayer to the One whose loaves and fish will NEVER end!

  8. “It is finished”……

    The journey is ended and the weight of the “ending” presses
    against your heart, heavy.

    The last words uttered by the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior—but,
    was it really over? “finished”?
    Just as the Messiah ended one journey, He, who has power over “endings” began another. This one would continue on…..in the hearts and lives of men—leaving people with a sick churning, a longing to right wrongs, a passion to step forward when the sirens call to draw mankind back and, most of all, hope.

    No, you won’t forget—-i know you—-you will go back to your world of college, exams and busyness and you will finish strong,
    and then…….
    You will gather an army to go with you…..
    an army which desires to serve the Most High King…..
    one that desires to do as He commands…….
    and then,……
    it will be finished.

    you are loved—mom

  9. Of course, you can’t do everything. But you are doing something. Maybe something that is more significant than it feels to you at this moment.

    This particular journey of yours does not end when you return back to your comfortable life.

    Talk about it. Tell others about it. If your journal entries here are any indication, the three of you are all gifted in the art of communication. By communicating what you have seen and experienced … and your feelings about what you have seen and experienced … you can stir others to action.

    In the long run, the impact of this communication can be more significant than any direct action that you have accomplished or any personal interaction that you have had in Nepal.

    As this part of your journey comes to a close, I want to encourage you to complete the next step in the journey.

    I look forward to seeing the video. And I look forward to sharing it with others.

    … and all that said … you don’t know me. I’m just a random on-line acquaintance of Shepherd’s. There will be others, who you do not know personally, that you can help provide the motivation and cause to stir into action.

    I wish you safe travels and a good night’s sleep to help give you the strength to push forward to the next phase of your journey.

  10. what you have seen. what you have felt. what you have written. what you believe. what you are passionate about….

    i feel too.

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