A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Sarah Popovich

TJ Saling Caldwell, Director, Apple of His Eye Charity and India widow

As an introvert and homeschooling mom, I have an extraordinarily high threshold for isolation. I’ve been known to say my dream vacation is actually staying home for a week while my husband and children escape to some exotic locale, though if I’m completely honest I could probably go longer than seven days without them.

Or so I thought.

This world-wide pandemic and accompanying quarantine has me a little twitchy today, and I’m still surrounded by family. I’ve been on social media more than usual, avoiding the news while simultaneously seeking updates concerning the welfare of friends and family.

These are strange times, unlike anything most of us have ever seen, and many are suffering despite their lack of symptoms, because God created us for community.

Luckily most of us still have it in digital form, the hope and positivity radiating from our devices is encouraging. Those of us with faith know God brings great blessing out of turbulent times, and this situation is no different. He is bigger, stronger, and remains in control.

The lessons we carry down the road with us from living in this present moment are sure to be spectacular, many of us are already learning things about ourselves and about this world that we never knew.

Sonja Edmunds, volunteer with AHEC takes India widow on walk and refreshes her spirit

What struck me this morning though wasn’t a new realization so much as a new connection to an old one. In my quasi-suffering I can now relate in a much greater capacity than ever before to those who are outcast from society, often through no fault of their own. Yet at the same time I am more confident than ever before that I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what that really feels like.

Connie Fort, volunteer with AHEC offers support to India widows in need

A widow in India is often disowned by her family and repelled from society. She is considered cursed and in some mystical way responsible for her husband’s death. I learned this while working with Apple of His Eye Charity, a Gresham-based organization dedicated to caring for orphans and widows in India and Rwanda.

When I first learned about this, I was shocked, even outraged at the injustice. These poor women often lose everything, even their children, and many turn to prostitution to survive when no business will hire them.

But shock and outrage are easy to come by, it’s a booming industry these days, we’re surrounded by it. Our hearts adjust from violent thundering back to normal all too quickly. Our stomachs untwist and the nausea subsides, and then we move on to the next thing.

But since we’re all stuck indoors right now, perhaps we can pause for just a little longer, and not move on to the next thing, because there is plenty requiring our attention and right now is always the best time to act.

We know what it’s like now, to worry about having access to necessities, things like dry goods and hygiene products.

We know what it’s like now, to fear disease and worry what might happen if we contract the illness ourselves.

We know what it’s like now, to feel alone even though there are people all around us.

But we still don’t have a clue what it’s like for nearly 40 million widows in India.

Apple of His Eye Charity knows better than most though, people like founder TJ Saling Caldwell have said prayers and given hugs and taken the time to listen to these women’s stories. Because of them care packages are distributed, and medical clinics set up shop in ghettos and maybe even more importantly— shoulders are offered to bear the incredible burden of these women’s tears.

There are so many ways to help, so many people who need it, and joining with organizations like Apple of His Eye Charity offers us all an incredible opportunity to do just that.

Because though the world is big, it’s not too big.

A virus can spread at lightning speed, but love and generosity can move just as quickly. They can impact lives just as much— more even— when done in the name of an unstoppable God.

So, whatever your next move is as you stay huddled inside your home, consider how it can create ripples which reach into eternity. Because we may have had an excuse before, but now we know, and knowing is never enough.

For more information on how to assist widows in India please visit: www.appleofhiseyecharity.org

Bio: Sarah is a Jesus lover and former board member for Apple of His Eye Charity. She currently resides in the Phoenix area with her husband and two children and is pursuing publication for her first novel. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @spopovichwrites

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