Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Dirty Sink

This was the first official week of the new City Church after-school program.  Everything is much more organized and polished, and I am very excited about what God is going to do with this program.  I am going to be teaching the nine and ten year old group of the Green team (aka the cool team).  We start out with a meal and then praise and worship time, and during this part of the evening, the leaders are basically in charge of everybody. 

There was one little girl named "Sarah" who was around four or five years old.  She wore a shirt that hung loosely on her short frame... clothes that were obviously too big for her.  She later told me that they were her sister's.  Her blond hair was tangled and greasy.  Pretty blue eyes shone beneath dirt that caked her rosy cheeks.  Sarah was covered in grime.  I don't even know what else to call it.  Every square inch of visible skin on that little girl's body was brown with grime.  I doubt that she has had a bath since the new year began.  

Sarah was an undeniably beautiful little girl... but she did not look like I did when I was her age.

Time to walk down memory lane.

See that picture?  I think I was around four or five years old there.  I was playing in a laundry basket with my younger sister.  Notice how my clothes fit... how I'm clean... how I'm smiling openly.  These are all ways that I was different from little Sarah.

Sarah used her brown fingers quite often when she ate her dinner, and I watched her with hidden dismay.  This child was so dirty... one of the dirtiest children I've seen in a long time, and so right before she went to the big sanctuary to have worship and orientation, I asked her to come into the bathroom with me.  She watched my every move with big eyes, obviously hesitant about whatever we were going to do.

"I'm a pretty messy eater," I said with a sheepish grin.  "Would you like to help me wash my hands?  We could do it together."

The uncomfortable look faded from Sarah's face and she nodded eagerly, obviously feeling important now that she had been given a mission.  I set the small girl on the bathroom counter so that she could reach the faucet, and then poured the foam soap into her hands.  They were so dirty.  We scrubbed and scrubbed each others' hands until they were both hidden from the soap suds, and then we rinsed them off in the sink until they were clean.  When we were finished, the white porcelain was stained brown.  Brown.  From a little girl's tiny fingers. 

After this, we washed our faces.  Even Sarah's little nose was smudged with the grime.  I wanted to turn away and cry by the time I was finished.  Actually, more than anything in the world, I wanted to give this little girl a bath and wash the rest of her until she was completely clean. 

While we were cleaning up, Sarah began to tell me in her babyish voice about how her sister didn't like her.  "That's crazy," I told her, "because I like you a lot."

"You do?"  She looked astonished.

I let an equally astonished expression spread over my face.  "Why, of course I do!  You're my friend!"

"I'm your friend?"  A small, nervous smile began to twitch at the corners of Sarah's mouth.

I pretended to be shocked.  "Of course you are.  I'm yours, aren't I?" 

"Yes.  You're my friend.  You're my friend," Sarah repeated over and over, as if she couldn't believe the possibility that someone like me would be friends with her. 

"And you're my friend.  You're my beautiful, beautiful friend," I declared.

"Your friend," Sarah whispered.  Awe shone in her blue eyes.  And then, without an ounce of hesitation, she gave me a huge smile and leaped into my arms, wrapping her own skinny arms around my neck and burying her face in my shoulder.  She was dirty, she was small, she didn't smell great, she probably had lice... she had a life harder than I could imagine.  Many people would have seen her walking down the sidewalk and felt repulsed...  They may have crossed to the other side of the street to avoid contact with this filthy little girl.

I could have done the same thing.  But Jesus opened my eyes, and I was able to look past the dirt and the grime and the neglect.  I saw a little girl who was beautiful from the inside-out.  I saw a child that God had made... I saw a child with a special purpose for her life.  I saw a child that Jesus cried over, that He cared about, that He died for...  I saw my friend. 

I knew that Jesus would have cradled this little girl in his lap and whispered words of love into her ear until she couldn't ever stop smiling. 

So I held her.   


  1. that was a really touching story thank you so much for posting this! I admire your love for other people and your heart to serve Christ <3

  2. Wow...what an amazing story. What an incredible gesture. How Jesus love shines through. :]
    Thankyou for posting that.