By Patricia DePra, CFCA sponsor. Patricia visited Lupita on a mission awareness trip to Mexico Oct. 2008, and she sent us this reflection of her sponsorship after meeting Lupita.
In those eight years, I fell in love, received tenure, married, became pregnant, left my job, had and lost my daughter (Dec 24-26, 2001), survived a very turbulent marriage, divorced, changed jobs twice more, and moved, let’s see ñ from Massachusetts to Buffalo, to the Finger Lakes (NY), back to Buffalo, to Mississippi, to Pittsburgh.
I always had a comfortable place to sleep, and whatever I wanted to eat, but emotionally, I was a mess, and I coped by burying myself in work. Throughout all these years, Lupita’s letters came, always filled with love, always with a drawing to be posted on my fridge or near my desk. I’ve saved every one of those letters and drawings. She wrote simply, beautifully, and from the heart.
There was always a little something extra in her writing ñ a touch of sweetness and genuine love, love for her family and for God that shone through the words to touch my heart and put a tear in my eye. Even so, it didn’t really sink in what this sponsorship, and I, really meant to Lupita. I’d come to think of myself as unimportant, in a way, and on the darkest days, perhaps even unworthy of having a daughter. It brought me a great deal of comfort knowing that my donation was helping such a sweet girl to be in school, to have better nutrition and health care, and more.
I am ashamed to admit that my letters to her were very few and far between. I didn’t realize that, while I was wrapped up in my own feelings, piling up the work to keep from thinking too much, numbed with fatigue, and subsequently postponing letters to her for months, that I was denying Lupita the warmth that she so openly shared with me. She always ended her letters with a “God bless you,” and “I love you,” but until I met her in person, I hadn’t realized just how much I mean to her, how important my letters were to her, and how full of love and gratitude our sponsored children, elderly and their families truly are.
It’s more than a donation, it’s a relationship, it’s dignity, it’s larger than words. I felt (and still feel) very humbled, and I am convinced that this is what living in God’s love is all about.