For the first few years, as I drove into El Rosario, Rosalinda would often run from her house that was tucked away from the road, to meet me as I drove by.
Every time we talked, she seemed desperate. Life or death desperate. Of course it wasn’t, it just felt that way as she explained the need of the day.
Sometimes her kids needed school supplies, sometimes she needed “a little help to buy some food” or sometimes she just needed to tell me how she was feeling.
One day, as I was driving by, she flagged me down and asked if I could pray for her mother. “Of course” I said as I pulled over. I walked down a trail to where her mother was laying in bed with stomach pain. I prayed over her and told her I would be back with some medicine that might help.
I asked Rosalinda, “Where do you live? Where’s your house?” I had never actually seen her home.
With absolutely no expression, she pointed to a structure made of sheetrock.
“Can I see inside?”
She smiled and thanked me.
Rosalinda is a single mom raising two teens and an 8-year-old daughter. I’ve never asked what happened to her husband. I guess I’ve never felt it was my business.
As I entered her home I noticed the door was hanging by a single hinge and had to be propped up against the wall to stay open. The bottom 3-4 inches of her “house” was rotted away. I’m sure it didn’t take long for the rain and sun to erode it.
She noticed me looking at the rays of light coming in from the bottom of the wall.
“The mice come in and out…especially at night.”
There was one bed. “Where does everyone sleep?” I asked.
She pointed to the bed, “We all sleep here.”
“Where does your son sleep?”
“Here too.” She kept pointing.
She smiled as we talked.
You know the smile.
Not a happy smile.
A desperate smile.
It all made sense now.
♦ ♦ ♦
I didn’t pay attention in school. Ask any of my teachers. Tell them I’ve established and run a private middle school and they’ll all laugh in disbelief.
But I DO remember learning about a psychologist named Abraham Maslow and his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow said that we all have needs that must be fulfilled before we can move up his pyramid toward fulfilling our greatest potential.
(Try to follow me for a second. It’s been 35 years since I’ve had to think about this.)
According to Maslow, our most basic needs are physiological like air, food, water, shelter, clothing and sleep.
The second tier of Maslow’s pyramid is Safety and includes things like health, home, employment and stability.
Once these two tiers of needs are met, a person can move up toward their need for Love and Self Esteem and can then finally reach Self Actualization, which is when we realize our maximum potential.
As I looked around, Rosalinda had very little food, she had no access to clean water, she had a “box” more than a home, and she was unemployed with zero stability in her life. Her most basic human needs were not being met. Not even close.
I realized that Rosalinda always ran up to meet me with desperation in her eyes because she was desperate!
“Lord, continue to put the people You want me to love, in my path. Open the eyes of my heart to SEE their plea. Help me to TAKE A SECOND to scratch beneath the surface to uncover their basic needs.”
Within a few months we built Rosalinda a home. It has two windows and a metal door that locks. I still see her almost everyday. I roll my window down as I drive by and waive. She doesn’t run out to meet me anymore. She smiles and waives back.
We were out of town when her house was finished. It sat empty until we got back.
“Why haven’t you moved in???”
“I didn’t want to bless it without you.”
I HAVE NEVER SEEN A TRANSFORMATION LIKE ROSALINDA’S BEFORE OR SINCE…until I recently met Maria Magdalena. I’ll be writing her story next. I write so you can see what God is doing in our little village but I also write because I don’t want to forget. I want to remember the desperate eyes and the peaceful eyes. I want to get better at noticing the difference. I want to remember the Holy Spirit in my life…guiding me.
Jesus told His disciples, “It is for your good that I’m going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
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