We pull out a puzzle, dumping the pieces on to the cool, hard concrete porch at the Villages of Hope Orphanage in Zambia, Africa.
Her fingers fiddled with the fragments, trying to figure out what to do next.
“Do you know how to start this, Mary?”
“No, Auntie. I do not, ” she shares quietly.
“We start with the pieces that have a straight side. They look like this. We’ll put them together, they are the outside, and then we’ll fill in the frame.”
We work silently. She concentrates on the puzzle. I concentrate on her.
Her face serene reveals trust, not turmoil.
I marvel at her willingness to attach to me, a stranger. She sees me as her friend. I am her friend.
Her tender spirit reveals a gentle soul, not contaminated by the world, and yet, having endured trials and tears unknown to me.
Her strength sturdy and yet fragile is evident.
I wonder about her life, her past, her future.
I eventually break the silence and ask her questions about herself.
She likes the color yellow, her favorite thing to do is play hide and seek and to learn at school. She hopes to be a nurse some day. Her favorite thing about God, “He saves me.”
It dawns on me.
What I see in her is a piece of me.
A daughter of the king, fiddling with the pieces of life that God gives me, trying to figure out what is next, trusting Him for each day.
My heart connects to her. God does that work, drawing us together.
We finish the puzzle and admire it. She is content. I am blessed to know her.