I do not remember her name but I do remember what she represented.
She was 12 years old.
I was 27.
It was the late eighties.
I was living on the Indian sub-continent.My husband and I were part of an International team.
We were volunteering with a local pastor.
We would arrive home quite late from doing work in the surrounding community.
It was then that the 12-year-old girl was roused from her sleep.
She would prepare us a snack or prep our bedding with mosquito nets for sleeping.
A child servant looking after our needs, it was awkward and uncomfortable.
Finally, after a few days one of our team members spoke out.
She said she could no longer participate in “slave labor.”
The older pastor’s reply would shape my worldview.
He acknowledged that it must seem quite strange. He understood my teammate’s concern.
But here was the heart of the matter: there were tens of thousands of desperately poor children living on the streets of India, something of course that we could not comprehend in the West.
The situation was daunting. Many of these children were lost to starvation or were trafficked (sold into some form of slavery).
But his family could provide a safe haven and an education for one these youngsters in exchange for some light labor. It wasn’t ideal but it seemed the alternatives were dire.
Then came the more profound rebuttal.
He was quiet for a moment and a changed countenance emerged.
His voice rose and indignation consumed him.
How dare we, HOW DARE WE tell him how to handle the plight of impoverished children in his nation…when we in the west hand over our newborn babies to strangers to be raised in day care centers, for him this was a moral transgression that was incomprehensible.
It hit me and has never left me – PERSPECTIVE.
I learned I must always be open to other people’s thoughts and opinions because from where they stand, it just seems right.