Lately, I can’t get this face out of my mind. The sincerity. The smile. The hope. It just puts everything into perspective. I had the great privilege of meeting this sweet young lady, Daphne, in 2007 during one of my trips to Uganda. This was not my first trip – nor would it be my last. But each and every visit brings new images, new relationships, and a new outlook for me.
Daphne, at this time, was living at Destiny Orphanage and Boarding School just outside of Kampala, Uganda. I don’t know her backstory, but what I do know is she is truly one of the most joyous people I have ever met. Perhaps that sounds strange – she was probably 6 at the time and I realize most 6 year old children are truly happy – but there was something noticeably different here. In a country plagued by HIV/AIDS where children are without parents more than they are with – Daphne had a way of looking beyond her situation and choosing happiness over pity, joy over sadness.
At one point, I remember clearly, as the rain started coming down that little Daphne led a group of her friends out of class to orchestrate a song and dance for us, her new American friends. What a humbling experience. I clearly remember fighting my strange mix of emotions with both tears and laughter coming at the same time.
I have never been truly the same. I am forever changed from those visits. It is amazing how events like this can change your view on everything else.
But yet, it is still easy to get caught up in the daily stresses of life. Easy to get sucked back into the “matrix” and forget to put things in perspective. I can get so entangled and entrapped in what I need to get done today that I can forget the bigger world that exists. Sometimes I forget the easy lesson I learned from Daphne’s smile, how to find joy over difficult circumstances.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34 NIV)
Jesus never said we would not have trouble. In fact, He guaranteed we would. But, He gives us the commandment to not worry about tomorrow. In the verse just prior to this, He tells us to seek first His Kingdom.
For me, I use Daphne’s picture to help bring me back to everything that matters. The bigger story that exists.
I learned how to find joy in all things from a 6-year-old orphan from Uganda, and I am forever grateful.
Question: How do you find joy in difficult circumstances?