Wanted by Haley Rees

Our first week of clinic at the Haven has come to an end. As I reflect on the past week and the start of another begins, I can’t help but think of the love and warmth I’ve felt at the Haven. I constantly find myself laughing with the aunties, smiling at kids, and sneaking in kisses on babies’ foreheads when I can.

As humans we are made to love and be loved. We all need to be nurtured and comforted. We long to be wanted and to have that feeling fulfilled. As Christians the same principal applies. We are to love one another as Christ loves us. God loves us so much that he longs to be loved by us and wants us to reciprocate the same love that he showers us in daily. He wants the feeling to be mutual. He lavishes us in his love and wants his name to be praised from our lips.

A week ago, when I met my clients, I was so excited. I was assigned a four month old boy and a one year old girl. As the week progressed so did my relationship with my client’s, slowly. By the end of the week I was still not able to have my full hour long session with my little girl without the presence of an auntie. Having one of the aunties sit on the ground on my hand-picked chitenge (fabric) with me helps keep my client calm. It makes her feel more peaceful and she attends to the session more easily.

I’ve always enjoyed kids and been good with handling them. I slowly made progress with my little girl, but at the end of the week when I was still unable to have a full one on one session, I was a little discouraged. Seeing her so upset and crying was not a self-esteem booster and it hurt me to see her uncomfortable. As the week went on, she eventually let me do hand over hand manipulation, sat in my lap, and on Friday fell asleep in my arms.

All I wanted was to be wanted by this little girl. I longed for the feelings to be mutual, for her to reciprocate the same emotions that I was showing. One of the aunties, the very first one that sat with me and my client actually, took up an interest in my client and I’s relationship. She would ask me each day throughout the week how she was doing and how the session went that day. Friday during our group language session she brought my client over to me and plopped her in my lap with a big smile. It was as if she sensed the longing I had to be wanted and loved by this little girl. As she squeezed her tiny body into my lap, I greeted her with a hug and a smile. She sat quietly staring at me with big brown eyes for about 20 minutes before tears started to stream her cheeks. I tried to comfort her as I wiped the tears and snot from her face. This went on for about 20 minutes before I was defeated and passed her back to the auntie.

After the hour long language session I made it a point to circle back around and say goodbye to my client. She was laying on the ground in their playground courtyard and I rubbed her belly and said “Bye, I’ll see you later!” The same auntie looked at me and said, “You love her.” As I felt tears start to form in my eyes, I nodded my head and said “You’re right, I do. I’m just trying to get to know her better and make her feel more comfortable.” She looked right in my eyes and with the sincerest words and smile said, “Just keep trying, she will come around.”

As much as I’ve longed to be wanted by this little girl that I’ve only known for a week, it breaks my heart to think of how the Lord feels. Everyday we turn our backs on him and yet he still runs after us, pursuing us, and yelling after us “Just keep trying, you’ll come around.” It hurts me to think about, but it is also so comforting. Knowing that we have a God that is so relentless and keeps no records of wrongs.

I hope that as a new week begins here in Zambia and even as my life continues, I can remember this moment and this feeling. The feeling of longing to be wanted and praying that I can reciprocate that for others. Most importantly that I can chase after God with the same passion even more fervently.

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