“I learned in my childhood in Africa that a child may be born in poverty but poverty is never born in a child. The worst aspects of poverty are not the deplorable outward conditions, but rather the erosion and eventual destruction of hope and therefore dreams.”
Too Small To Ignore
Dr. Wess Stafford
Now that is an intense statement. One that requires reflection; allowing ourselves to read and re-read each word carefully, grasping at understanding.
Have you grasped it?
Even with my draw to aid children in poverty, I still struggle with getting it. I mean really getting it.
The Lord has taken me on many a great adventure. He has been my tour guide, my leader, even my travel buddy! And anyone who has traveled knows how important the buddy system is.
He gives me these glimpses into poverty, into what a majority of the world is faced with, and I dive into them with all my emotion, mind and heart. I studiously grapple with realities that are too surreal for me to comprehend.
I have seen immense lack of materials and absence of love, but I know I cannot rely on just experiences to fuel my passion. Especially when my desire is to do all things unto the Lord, and that can’t be put on hold when I’m just not feeling it.
But all is not lost. I simply read. That’s right … I am constantly reading. That person who is reading four books at one time … that’s me. I always have two books in my purse and even two journals. So, most times when I am in line or waiting somewhere I am either writing or reading.
I have come to see that my passion for social justice and my desire for reading are more intermingled than I realized. Reading helps me remember. It takes the disconnect I sometimes feel and lessens the gap.
For example, I read this from Too Small To Ignore (which was one of the four I was reading),
“Some people think the earth can’t keep up with the food needs of its population. That is not true. In fact, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared at a World Food Summit in Rome that the planet could produce enough food for every one of us to have a daily diet of 2,720 calories.”
“The likelihood of a little Haitian child making it to his or her fifth birthday is so small that many parents do not even entrust their child with a name until then. They refer to the toddler as ti chape, ‘my little escapee.’ In other words, this little one has dodged death up to now, but who knows if he will actually survive? So why bother giving him a real name? We can always do that later, if needed.”
Hard to read? Yes! Does it help restore me to godly perspective? Yes.
Because, to be honest, today I have quite a few projects I am juggling at work, then I have to go grocery shopping (milk, bread and something with chocolate), I’d like to go on a run, then it is off to Bible study, then laundry … and all through this my passion is attempting to dodge the humdrum of everyday life so I can keep perspective. Although, many times, my fervent enthusiasm takes a back seat and the gap gets a little wider.
God knows me, I mean He truly knows me and He knows how to encourage me and it usually comes in the form of something I read. He lessens the gap. He gives me the proper lens to look through.
How does He encourage you? When all you wish you could do is fly over to the country where your sponsored child lives and give him or her a hug, how do you keep the passion?
Maybe it’s reading for you, too. Maybe it’s reading their letters. Or even writing. Perhaps today you can write him or her a letter.