“While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.” – from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Today is my daughter’s 4th birthday. I tucked her into bed tonight, kissing her soft curls and her tender cheeks as we said our prayers together. Each night, she thanks God for this day, for her family and friends. She asks Him to help her great-grandmother get better and to help her “have a wonderful sleep.” And each night, He does. She sleeps deeply in a warm, cozy bed, surrounded by beloved animals and dolls. Her parents are just across the hall, after all. She dreams about princesses and ponies. She doesn’t worry about bedbugs or the boogey man. She doesn’t have to. In her four tender years, she has never known true fear. Thank God.
But she has a sister on the other side of the world who probably worries every night about those things and more. Because those things are all too real in her world. Insects. Intruders. No warm, cozy bed … she sleeps on a cold, dirt or concrete floor. At 14 years old, she only recently got a blanket … quite possibly her first EVER. Mosquitoes invade as the sun sets, biting after dark and spreading their deadly malaria. And sadly, there are evils greater than malaria that may also creep in at night, and too many nights she probably sleeps alone with her young siblings while her parents are away for work. I don’t know what Fostina dreams about. I would probably be sad to know.
I ran into some of my Wiphan friends last week at a school event and they told me about this project coming up, called Operation Silent Night. I was so excited to hear about this and couldn’t wait to be a part of it. Then Andrea asked me if she could use some of the photographs from my recent trip, which of course meant the world to me. Now I can imagine some of these sweet faces I met in Zambia sleeping in peace. (If you haven’t already discovered Andrea’s blog, you must check it out. She is an amazing writer with an incredible heart. She tells the story of Operation Silent Night much more eloquently and in more detail than I can. You can watch the slideshow she created below.)
Please consider being one of the angels who delivers a peaceful, silent night to one of these children. For less than I spent today on ballet clothes for my daughter’s dance class, I can buy a foam mattress, sheets, a reed mat, a mosquito net, and a chain and lock for a child ‘s door. Please visit Wiphan’s site to donate. I’ve seen these children, been in their homes. Words cannot express what a gift this will be for them.
Thank you, and much love,