I thought when I was visiting the girls in the Dominican Republic that I would be the one providing love. It turns out that the girls had much more to teach me about love than I did for them. The girls were so open to me from the first moment that I sat down on the floor with them. They have such generosity in giving of themselves. I quickly realize that this relationship isn't just one way. To truly love these girls you have to allow yourself to be loved by them. As they were open to me by coming up for hugs and showing me around I realized I was being called to be open to them. This was in seemingly little things like letting them play with my hair or allowing myself to look a bit silly when they wanted to teach me to dance.
I only know a few words in Spanish and they only know a few words of English. Despite my limited language skills I never felt isolated. We all spoke the language of genuine friendship. Laughter, hugs, and hand motions became our ways of communication.
When we were getting ready to leave one little girl ran up to me and slipped me a note. I now have that note hanging up in my office by my computer. The last words on the letter that take up a quarter of the page are "te amo", simply "I love you". It serves as a reminder each day of the children, who love so freely yet have so little materially, that CARITAS is able to help. I don't know when or if I will see these girls in person again, yet I know that the love that I experienced there will remain and it has changed how I love as well.