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My Blessing, My Curse

Slum children, Surat, Gujarat 2011

October 12, 2011
Steve Leventhal, Executive Director

When I walk thru the slums of India I often find myself reflecting on the phrase “Giving and receiving are the same”, a core principle in the work of Attitudinal Healing  as well as many other value systems and philosophies. I wrote the below on the way back from India this past week and thought I’d share it. I’m interested to hear if other people working in international development, or for charitable causes in general, have found themselves feeling the same. As always, thanks for reading, and for your support. -Steve

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My blessing, My curse
I wish I could convey what happens to me in the slums
The simple joy
The unraveling of my heart
The revealing of humanity at its best and worst
The elemental wonder and curiosity
The mutual desire to connect, child-like in its simplicity and honesty

Its almost like an addiction now
I’m ashamed to admit it
How can I take from those with so little
How can I fill my heart on the love of those who are given none
How is it I live in a land of plenty and my soul feels so empty
Until I hear the laughter and shouts of those children
As I walk by creaky wooden shacks and leaky roofs
Doing my best to ignore the piss, shit, and streams of trash clinging to my shoes
The undernourished bellies
With hope so little that it could fit in the palm of my hand

A little girl reaches out to me
Mischief in her heart, a gleam in her eye
We touch fingers
And shyly smile
And briefly hold a shared candle
That brightens as two flames reach out from across oceans, rise up, and become one

For a moment my heart finds rest
As I steal some peace in her blessing.

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