She looks like any nine-year-old here.  With some exceptions.  This nine-year-old, and most of her 11 younger siblings for whom she is responsible, do not attend school.  She lives in my neighborhood and works in her house day in and day out.  Her responsibilities in the house are much like a woman four times her age.  She cooks, cleans, washes clothes, and watches over her near dozen smaller siblings.  She makes sure that they are looked after and fed, that they sleep, and that they do the chores that they are able to even at their youngest ages.  And her face often shows the responsibility she carries daily.

But for one day…she did not stop smiling for hours.  Today we invited this poor conservative Pashtun family’s children, all arriving in their best attire, to our house.  To the house of the American and the Iranian (ironic in and of itself!) to have some tasty food, play games, and hear a story.  As the treats are set out—local snacks plus some brownies—she gets up to help serve.  She sits back down…as we serve them instead.  They inhale the brownies first, of course, and eat off and on for the next two hours.  They were hungry!  We then played some games, games that were common to us growing up but that are a special treat for them.  So with blindfolds on and giggles rising up in our yard, her arms twirl and reach as she searches for her brothers dancing and dodging around her.  I watch and smile as this little nine- year-old, for a moment, is what she is—a child.  Not a little adult, but a little child who loves to twirl and laugh and eat brownies.  I could have stood there endlessly watching her enjoy the moment and be free of her many responsibilities, if only for a couple of hours.

How often am I like this (though she, unlike me, has no choice), attempting to accomplish so much, wanting to do my part and more.  When often maybe all God wants is for me to set it all down, remember how able HE is in the midst of it all, and just enjoy life, enjoy Him.  How He desires for us to laugh, to smile, and to just be in Him!  And how much He must love watching us, as I loved watching her, enjoy the moment.

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