Until very recently, I lived in a place called Blissful. Just as the name would imply, it was a terrific place to grow up.

So nice in fact, that you may find it hard to believe that since I left it, I’ve never wanted to return.

Seems strange, I know. Why would anyone ever want to leave? Peaceful, prosperous…not perfect maybe, but what place is, this side of heaven? The people of Blissful care deeply for each other, and spend time together in fellowship (awesome potlucks), meaningful worship, and inspiring bible studies, youth group activities, & baby showers.

If you come from a place like Blissful, I probably don’t need to say much more.  You already know what it’s like.  A welcoming place where everyone is loved and cared for, warm and fed. Why would anyone want to leave Blissful?

Certainly not me.

No one has ever really wanted to leave this comfortable place. Well, Grace being the exception. Grace has always wanted the best for me, even though we don’t always see eye to eye.  For as long as I can remember, Grace took up residence in Blissful.

But you can count on Grace to always be on the move.

It should have been no surprise when one day Grace gently led me beyond the skies of Blissful to a place on the outskirts of the city. We climbed a hill so high that, from the summit, I could see farther than I’d ever seen before.

The view was not what I expected. I’d always known that other people didn’t live in places like Blissful, but I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared for the reality.

I saw was misery…everywhere. Destruction. Disaster. Death. Lost and despairing people. Ruined lives. From the top of the hill, to this place where Grace led me, I could also see how close the ugliness came right up to the grassy borders of Blissful, even up to the very edge of the city. So close…

How had I not seen this before?

Of all the scenes of suffering and desolation before me, my eyes kept coming back to the children.   Thousands, no, millions…all ages, shades, and sizes. Some were hungry, some were sick, some were abused, some carried birth defects. Some were perfectly healthy. But each was also utterly alone, even though there were people everywhere. Some of the children lived in orphanages, but many were completely on their own, living in cardboard boxes, sewers, and train stations. So many orphans…

How had I not seen this before?

Somehow, even though most of the children were quite a distance away from me, I found that most of them were still within my reach. One–a slim, Asian girl, perhaps five years old, drew near and took my hand. She smiled at me with blue lips. A heart problem?

“Have you come for me?” she said hopefully. “I’ve been waiting so long.”

Together, Grace led the three of us home, back to Blissful. When we neared the gates, Grace cautioned me, “You must understand, once you leave Blissful and see the orphans for yourself, it is nearly impossible to return to the contented life you had before. Now that I have taken you to a place where you could see the children, you must tell others. Tell them not to be afraid to leave Blissful. Show them this beautiful girl. Tell them too, if they need help, all they need to do is ask. I am always ready to show them the way.”

Links (outside Blissful):

Tary Medberry is a part-time church secretary, as well as Mom to four kids: Anne, 21 (at college), Aaron (13), as well as Andrew (11) and Abby (10), who were adopted from China.