Friday, November 11, 2011

What You Are

"What you are speaks so loud I can't hear what you're saying."

I read that quote when I was a student in college.  I found it in my psychology textbook. I read it, and then I read it again. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, this is deep Linn. You're gonna want to remember this." It has stayed with me all these many years, and I have pondered on it at the strangest times. Like when I was hollering at my children to quit yelling. Or telling them to be nice to the kitty as I chased it out of the house. There were times while sitting in the bleachers watching my kids play ball that I would exclaim to the ref, or the ump, or the official, that they were missing a good game. Then I would sit back with my drink and congratulate myself on being the model, nonjudgmental fan, and parent. (It's just that I had a better view of the court from where I sat.) I also have a deep understanding of the matter what game it is.

But when it comes to horses and children,  I get a little scared. See, they have a good sense of "what you are."  I've seen it clearly while volunteering at the elementary school with a favorite friend of mine. The children adore her. They flock to her, and they listen to her. There is an instant connection because she really sees them.

That's why horses terrify me. I'm pretty sure they know what I'm thinking before I do.  I can act like I'm tough, pretend I'm not afraid, but it's no use. The horse knows. A horse is a horse of course (of course). Yet they have that sense. (It doesn't help that I've been bucked off twice, ridden bare back on a race horse that was whipped upside his fanny in an open field, sat atop a feisty big horse as he ran and jumped into the back of a horse trailer...chest level; and nearly kidnapped on a black stallion one dark night on the edge of the Sahara Desert.) All of those horses knew what I was thinking! 

Children see through the facades. They know when someone really cares. 

I saw the same connection with the students and the children at the orphanage last week. I'll bet any one of these students could hop up there on that horse and become one with the animal.

I was humbled to see all the number of students who wanted to volunteer. They outnumbered the seats in the taxi. I hope you can see in these pictures what I saw through the lens. It's in their eyes.
This is the little guy that won my heart. I sat down and started putting a puzzle together with him. 
I was trying out my terrible and limited Arabic and asked him his name. He got frustrated after he tried to tell me three different times that his name was Ahkhmaqdekhahliim and I couldn't repeat it back to him correctly. Out of frustration I  looked at him and started talking "jibberish." He tilted his head to the side, questioning and waited for me to repeat what had made no sense to him the first time. After I did it again, he started to grin a little and noticed the smirk I was giving him. Then he started laughing and demanded that I do it again! "Kaman! Kaman!"--"again, again."   He slid right next to me fiddling with the puzzle pieces and looked up into my eyes.  It didn't matter that I couldn't speak Arabic, and he couldn't speak English.  For a few magic moments, we spoke the same language. 

As we were preparing to leave, I was invited to go upstairs with Esther and one of the nuns to see the living quarters of the children. Sun shining through the windows brought added light to the clean and organized rooms. The beds was made immaculately, with a stuffed animal on each. With everything so bright and colorful I found myself quietly following the nun out of the room feeling a heavy sadness that took me by surprise. I didn't want to think of the children at bedtime. I didn't want to imagine them crawling into those beds without someone to tuck them in, or wondering who would bring them a drink of water when they cried out in the night.  The words "Who will cry for the little boy" suddenly came to mind. The line is from a poem written by Antwone Fisher that has impacted me since I saw the movie years ago. 

“Who will cry for the little boy, lost and all alone?
Who will cry for the little boy, abandoned without his own?
Who will cry for the little boy? He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy? He never had for keeps.
Who will cry for the little boy? He walked the burning sand.
Who will cry for the little boy? The boy inside the man.
Who will cry for the little boy? Who knows well hurt and pain.
Who will cry for the little boy? He died and died again.
Who will cry for the little boy? A good boy he tried to be.
Who will cry for the little boy, who cries inside of me?
                                                                        ---Antwone Fisher

I was grateful as I rode home thinking about the nuns that give all their time and love to the children. Their continual service and sacrifice makes a difference in the lives of each child there. I was grateful too, for students who through their selfless acts,  show me constantly "What they are."


  1. That was incredible linn. Thanks for sharing-very profound. You always have the ability to reach my heart in your writing.

  2. You're a writer, you write. This was awesome Mom. I so wish I could have been there for this. Especially to watch you with that little boy.

  3. I always knew you were talented. Your little piece brought tears to me eyes. Beautiful children all over the world. Thank you

  4. Very touching. I would like to hear more about your kidnapping.

  5. You, My Dear are not only an artist with your eye, but with your heart, head, and pen. Love You

  6. Beautiful. I have a hard time in these places. I want to take them all home with me. My arms aren't big enough to encircle them all about but the Savior's are. "Suffer the little children...."

    God bless these nuns for all they do.

  7. Thank you, thank you for sharing. You are so talented, I cry or laugh EVERY post. What a sweet way to start my day being grateful for the service of others helping these darling kids & being grateful I'm healthy & here to tuck mine in :)
    Amy C

  8. LOOK Linnea--I did it! I was finnally able to post a comment...worked under anonymous. funny. what's the deal with not being able to log in with google account on your & ellie's blogs?
    be safe.

  9. Linn I cried when I read this. It pains me (especially after I have had one of my own) to think of the little boys and girls that don't have a home. The tears really came when I saw the picture of the crib...You are such a wonderful writer. I envy you :)