I Heart Miracles
Miracles are cool. I don’t mean the Jesus-in-a-Taco style of miracle or the miracle that comes when you order the Holy Water from the televangelist with a bad hairpiece that’s on TV at 3:00 AM. I mean the kind of miracle that makes you wonder and marvel at the incredible gift of being alive; one that truly makes you want to keep going and believing that there is more.Mari-Terése might fall under the miracle category – at least according to Megan, one of our Hero Holiday interns in Dominican Republic.
She had no money, barely an education, but enough passion and determination to change the world. She was fifteen when I first met her. We were walking through a Dominican village, the road was rugged and dusty, but she was barefoot. I noticed her right away for two reasons: she looked almost my age with a glowing smile – and she was pregnant.
We started talking. Her words resonate in my head to this day, and I can’t bring my thoughts away from her will and raw desire to learn and thrive into the world where she was born. She explained, in the simplest way she could, that she wanted to help. This astonished me: the ‘helped’ was wanting to help in return. Heavily pregnant, she was going to night school every day in hopes of one day becoming a teacher and sharing her wisdom with her community. I was, and continue to be, unbelievably inspired by her maturity and consciousness of everything around her. Although I only knew her for a day, I could already see right into her selfless heart through the words that she spoke. I felt as though we had known each other for a life time.We continued to talk, and the conversation led us to where she called home. We sat down, and if you could just hear us, you would think that we were two teenagers chatting over a cup of coffee! But when the lights of reality sunk in, you could see the walls of her house eaten away by termites, bug carcasses scattered across the dirt floor, and the table that was laden with a single basket of food that was meant to feed a family of over ten for possibly a week.Inevitably, it was eventually time to leave. As she stood up from the table, I was suddenly reminded of yet another burden that she carried that was unlike mine: she was about to become a mother.Now, over a year later, I saw her. The brightness in her eyes drew me instantly and once again, I couldn’t help but notice her maturity and sense of purpose. I watched in awe as she balanced a healthy looking baby in her arms. Although she may not reach her potential in terms of an education, a miracle had occurred: her baby made it! Her safety, and that of the baby was extremely uncertain due to her limited access to health care, and the disease rate that could easily have terminated her pregnancy. But a sigh bigger than words can describe what was let out when I knew that she was okay. Currently sixteen, she continues to go to school, pursue her dreams, and now, care for another life.The idea of miracles happening in everyday life can come about in unexpected situations, but in a way, it can bring us back down to where we really are. I am now content in the fact that she is safe. I know now that my year of endless worrying and constant fear is now over – at least for the time being. Life is fragile and we live in the unexpected every moment of every day. Somehow, once you have been exposed to the extreme inequities of the world, you understand that on a whole different level. Each day is a gift and nothing is taken for granted. Birth is often the only true separation between those who have plenty and those who go without. Right now, as you read this, Megan is witnessing that reality firsthand on Hero Holiday, as together with the team of over one hundred participants, we work to bring hope and help build a future for the community that Mari -Terése is a part of. To find out more about how you can be a part of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s Hero Holiday programs, check out www.livedifferent.com.