A Mother's Heart

As the headlines from Newtown, Connecticut, cause us to sorrow with the families who lost precious children in a senseless killing, I was reminded of this poem written by Laura Hershberger on her blog.  Laura wrote this after spending the day working with a team who was interviewing women who participated in the Civil War in El Salvador:

A Mother's Heart 
I think every mother
has the same heart.
In that the thing that we love the most
And the thing that we most fear losing
Are the same.

Something in our biology
That makes us ache for our children if we haven't seen them enough
That puts our attention on something else first, before ourselves
Is he hungry? Is she safe? Will they always feel my love?

And it is that heart
That breaks
For other mothers
And their loss.

My heart, my mother heart,
breaks with the pain of the Salvadoran mother.

Who lost 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, children in the war
Whose child died of dengue
Whose child left for the States and never came back
Who wailed over the body of her 15 year old son, assassinated on a street corner while playing cards with his friends
Whose son was swept out of her arms in a flood.

Who cannot provide enough food for her child
Who cannot clean the water, so there is no typhoid, no dengue, no contamination
Who cannot clean the air for his little lungs
Who cannot make her home sturdier, safer, risk-free.

The mother who leaves at 5am to work and returns home at 7pm. Whose only time with her child is when she holds him in her arms as she sleeps.
The mother who waits for hours, for days, for months, for her child to be seen by a doctor.
The mother who sets up a blanket on the side of the road for her toddler to play on while she sells newspapers in the busy intersection.
The mother who is alone as a parent. Who knows that it all depends on her.
The mother is afraid of her husband. Who uses her body to block the blows he aims at her child.
The mother who tries to hold out here in El Salvador, crap job, after crap job, knowing she could earn more in the States, if only she were to leave her children with the grandmother and head north. But stays because she can't bear to be away from them.
The mother is in the States and has not seen her children in 1, 2, 3, 7 years.

I see them, I hear them, I talk to them everyday and my heart, my mother heart breaks.

So I work faster, I walk faster, I drive faster.
To get back to him. To hold my child in my arms.
For now. For today. For this moment.
Laura spent time in El Salvador as a volunteer with the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM).   I am on the Board of VMM and am passionate about its work in Central America.    VMM recruits, trains, and equips volunteers who wish to dedicate two or more years of their lives in service to poor communities in Central America and elsewhere throughout the world.  VMM places them with small nonprofit organizations as teachers, nurses, engineers, youth workers, etc.     If you value and appreciate this blog, please show your appreciation by making a donation to VMM.   You can find many ways to donate at this link.   If you would like information about becoming a volunteer with VMM, please send me an email.