Mother Teresa. She’s been my idol, my mentor, for as long as I can remember. Every Christmas, I begged and pleaded for a pet pig. Her name would be Mother Teresa. I thought combining my favorite pig and favorite person would somehow create a living masterpiece, a pink piece of perfection. After reading, A Simple Path, by Mother Teresa, I was reminded once again of her ingenuity:
“Love until it hurts.”
“Give what costs you something.”
“Love is expressed first in being with before doing to someone.”
For the first time in my life, I am giving at a cost. Yes, I’ve donated clothes to the Salvation Army; yes, I’ve written a check to a nonprofit organization; yes, I’ve given an offering during the church service, but never before have I given up even more than I have. I’ve given up starting a career in America; I’ve given up memories with family and friends; I’ve given up everything that was familiar to me. And in return, I’ve received bout after bout of diarrhea, worms, mold growing on my skin, and fungus on my toe. But now, I know what it’s like. When teachers tell me they have no water, I know what it’s like. When they complain about their backs hurting after bending over a washboard cleaning each article of clothing, I can relate. When students complain about having to do school work by candlelight because the power is always out, I show them my messy lesson plans, completed in the dark.
It’s being with, before doing to. It’s loving until it hurts. It’s just being – no anticipation, no clocks ticking away the time.
I’m not telling you this so you’ll know exactly what I’ve sacrificed, or so you’ll think of me as a good citizen, rather because she’s absolutely right. Money is necessary, but an individual investment of time is crucial. The world’s problems can’t be fixed overnight, or with a blank check. It takes us.