Put simply, I don’t understand want. I learned that today.
I’m a member of a local CSA farm here in Colorado, which stands for Community Support Agriculture. You buy a “share” of a local farm for one season, supporting the farm and receiving produce each week, but also buying into the risk of farming.
It’s a great way to support small local farms, eat delicious melons, and attend fall pumpkin festivals at a farm.
If you’re from around here, you know that parts of Colorado are pretty close to a desert. Many people, upon arriving in Colorado (expecting to see green mountain meadows and purple mountain majesties), respond, “It’s so brown.” (I happen to love the brown, thank you very much.)
Until recently, we’d only gotten a little over three inches of rain all year long. Then, in just two days, we got over four inches and a hearty dose of hail for good measure.
And all my melons, oh my sweet melons, and luscious tomatoes and sweet peppers from my CSA farm were destroyed in one fell swoop.
This pains me. I live for tomatoes. Really. I get more excited about summer heirloom tomatoes and Colorado cantaloupe than many things in life. But now the crops are all gone.
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I’m glad I joined this farm – it will help them stay afloat this year despite the hit. And if I really want a tomato or a melon, I’ll just go to the farmer’s market on Saturday and stock up.
Immediately after receiving the email about the hail on the CSA farm, I read a story of a farming family in Ethiopia. It’s been raining erratically there. And if the rain doesn’t come, they’ll lose all their crops too.
Only they can’t bike down to the local farmer’s market and just buy more if they fail. They can’t go stock up at King Soopers or Winn Dixie. That’s it for them. They really don’t know what they’ll do. They’re already only eating one small serving of injera, Ethiopian flatbread, a day.
I’ve never been in that situation. There’s always been another option. And I realize that I really have no idea what it’s like to want.
I just watched a cell phone commercial that leaned on the old cliche of not wasting food “because there are children starving in other countries,” likening it to wasting cell phone minutes, because there are others around the world who don’t have as many cell phone minutes as we do. Only in our very isolated, comfortable context could we make this comparison as a joke.
Hunger and want are so unreal and unknown to us that we don’t even blink an eye at it because the want in the world is unknown or unpersonal to us.
So what are we to do?
All I can do is ask God to help me to remember how blessed I am and that he blessed me for a reason. I can ask God to help me in a very small way to understand the plight of those around the world who know want all too well, and to have compassion for them.