There once was a little girl in the green jungle of Columbia that loved the color red. She had raven black hair that flowed down to her waist and no ribbon with which to tie it. She daydreamed about red ribbons when she was suppose to be stirring the beans, and they burnt. She daydreamed about red ribbons when she was suppose to be tending her baby brother, and he skinned his knee. She even daydreamed about red ribbons when she was suppose to be washing her muddy flip flops in the river, and one floated away.
She knew her mother would be angry to find her with only one flip flop so she followed the river in the hopes of her flip flop got trapped in the brown rocks at the washerwoman's basin where she could retrieve it. It was along this route she spotted a circle of white entangled in a flame-colored bush. She forgot about her lost flip flop and went to inspect the mysterious object. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw the white circle was attached to red ribbons. Her joy made her fingers work doubly quick to untangle the red ribbons from the bush. When she released it, she the hugged the fabric parachute to her chest and lovingly thumbed the texture of the red grosgrain ribbons. Her heart was a rush to get home and cut those beautiful red ribbons and tie them in her raven black hair. Therefore, she failed to remember the reprimand her mother would give her for losing her flip flop. In fact the little girl left her companionless flip flop sitting by the miracle bush.
Her mother was hanging her only tablecloth on the wire line by the door of their small house. She wished she had a new tablecloth that didn't have so many stains and a ragged edge and the hole where Uncle Luca placed his cigarette. Her heart was to teach her daughter and son civility and beauty in the war torn jungle. She knew a clean tablecloth would lift her spirit like nothing else. It was a wish that came up empty like her two-year-old son fishing in her cast iron sink. But still she wished.
She heard the gurgle and slurp of her little daughter's bare feet in the mud. Where are those girl's flip flops? But before a harsh word could come out of that maternal mouth, her little daughter was at her side showing her the treasure she found. "Look, Mama! Look! Red ribbons for my hair."
Indeed, the mother saw ribbons but their color was insignificant to her. Her eyes were tearing up because she saw a white fabric tablecloth from the parachute material. It was the perfect size for their small household. It looked so clean and there wasn't even a hole in it. It had words neatly written on it in blue. "Dios es Amor." She had heard of the God of the Bible years ago when she was a child on the lap of her abuela. How amazing that her new tablecloth bore such a message. Where did it come from? God? God must indeed be love since he sent her the very thing she would have asked for if she thought he would listen. The spiritual seed in her heart was beginning to sprout as she helped her daughter cut the ribbons from her white muslin tablecloth.
Some hours later, a man dressed in fatigues and carrying a rifle sat down wearily by the miracle bush at the side of the river. As he stretched his blistered feet, he noticed a dingy blue flip flop that looked about the size of his daughter's feet. How that soldier missed the swish of his little daughter's long raven black hair as she ran to greet him. He had been gone from home the last 14 days. He wanted to enfold his family in his arms again. They were all that mattered to him. Of course, he looked tough and seemed hard on the exterior, but he was only a vulnerable youth internally. He had been forced into the guerrillas sometime after he had learned how to read. He secretly regretted that his chance for schooling had been taken away when he was thrust that very same rifle he now held. FARC soldiers mocked book learning as propaganda of their class enemy oppressors. Nevertheless, he wished he had a book of his very own. He would hide it carefully so it wouldn't get spit on or torn or worse yet, used for toilet paper. He would bring it out when he was alone in the jungle and read and transport himself to somewhere where people treated each other differently. He fingered the flip flop absently and decided he might get home sooner if he took less breaks. Oh, but he was bone tired.
As he struggled to his feet, he saw a flash of silver in the interior of the bush's flame-colored foliage. He reached into the miracle bush and pulled out a clear plastic bag with a metal grommet that scintillated in the low beams of the fading daylight. The shiny grommet had a few red threads dangling from it, but he didn't notice because inside the bag was a brown book. His heart beat faster and his hands felt big and clumsy as he unzipped the bag and pulled out his heart's desire. A book of his very own. He opened it at random and read: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
And so began the working of God in the jungle of Columbia as He prompted 10 little hands in the States to not have an idle summer.
This is not the end, this is THE BEGINNING