What is Want? (Understanding Want)

what is want 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.

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Rick Royer August 31, 2008

    Intersting. I’ve never heard of a CSA before but it sounds awesome. Amber, thanks for the study “Hope Lives”. It was well done. I was actually in the middle of it last month when I lead of group from my church to Ecuador to visit our sponsored children. I used it for group devotions a couple of times. Thanks again for using your gift of writing.

  2. Avatar
    Vicki Small August 31, 2008

    Kees, I know how you felt, when you read the latest letter from Carlos! I had such a letter almost three years ago, from Tausi, in TZ, and it still gives me joy to think about it or re-read it. And I can say that the whole tone and focus of her letters has been different, ever since. Jesus grabbed her heart, just as I had been praying! I’m praying for a similar letter from one of the girls I’ll be seeing, in Oct.

    Heather: You’re in so. Arizona? I’m in Tucson; if you’re also here–or further south–and would like to chat, click on my name. I think that will take you to my blog, where you can click to e-mail me.

  3. Avatar
    Ian Durias August 31, 2008

    It’s not “brown.” It’s “golden.” Grin.

  4. Avatar
    Kelly @ Love Well August 30, 2008

    Perspective is everything, isn’t it? Thanks for the reminder, Amber. I need it.

  5. Avatar
    Brittany August 27, 2008

    This is a great reminder to count our blessings.

  6. Avatar
    Kathy August 27, 2008

    I received a letter seeking donations from my local food bank yesterday. The letter states that 96 BILLION pounds of food are thrown away each year in America!! Mind boggling! If 96 billion pounds are thrown away, how much is available to us in total? We are so blessed! You’re correct Amber, we do not understand.

  7. Avatar
    Heather August 27, 2008

    Tht cell phone company is Cingular\Att I believe..I may be wrong but i think it is.This ad angers me to the core tht theyd even think to compare cell useage and starvation! I grew up on a farm in MN and we had some rough years-locusts or whatever the trial was tht season.But the gov always could bail us out..My sponsered child is in Ethiopia and I cant imagine tht little princess going hungry..How terrible!Even the homeless in the Usa have soup kitchens and the occassional helpful church.Every night I beg Our Blessed Saviour for mercy on the extreme poor and to provide food for them..prayers frm south az head to Ethiopia every nite!

  8. Avatar
    Kees Boer August 26, 2008

    Hi, Vicki,

    I know what you mean. I wanted to sponsor a child for many, many years, but I didn’t know who to trust, whether the money would truly go to a child and it was difficult, because I knew that if I were to ask the specific charity, that I would get a one sided answer. This is why I’m so glad with the integrity of Compassion. Having said that, I remember many times that I heard someone say to someone else, who was tossing food, that some people could benefit from this and that it is wrong to toss the food. I remember saying to people, that there was nothing one could do about the starving children by not tossing the food. And there is some truth to that, because if I get too much food on my plate, I couldn’t send my leftovers in a package to one of these developing countries. Since having gotten involved with Compassion, I can say this that I now have something I can do and that is to either order less food or make less food, because the money that can be saved can be given to a child or to the Global Food Crisis Fund. So, now we have an avenue to channel the funds at least in a financial way to those needs and we can be assured that it does indeed go towards the children.

    I wanted to sponsor a little boy named Carlos from Bolivia (anyone suprised about the country? LOL!) Anyways, I didn’t know how I could sponsor him. All of a sudden, I realized that I ate lunch at Taco Bell (Not a Mexican Phonecompany!) and got a big coke with it every day. I calculated, if I cut out the coke and replaced it with water, it would be enough to sponsor Carlos. I did that and I also lost a medical condition. Just yesterday, I went to check my mail and there was a letter from Carlos, who told me that he had just gotten saved!!!

    All that is to say is that I think many people don’t have an avenue how to truly help the poor or at least they don’t know of an avenue. This is where we can help people and tell them about how they can sponsor a child and do make a difference in their lives. So, we can indeed feed the children in far away places.



  9. Avatar
    Crystal August 26, 2008

    We live on a farm so I know about storms and drought and the devastation that losing a crop can bring. But we have banks and governments that can offer us options, unlike other places, so I don’t know what it is to have no other choices. Very good comparisons and thoughtful post, Amber.

    Kees – praying now for those countries too. So much need in so many places – please show me how to help, Dear God.

  10. Avatar
    Kees Boer August 26, 2008

    Yes, that’s a great point. I’ve been thinking about this with Tropical Storm Fay. We had it come through here last week and it was a bit of a mess, but outside of a few, we all survived it fairly well. Maybe I can use this little blog to ask special prayers for the people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, they are now being hit by Hurricane Gustav, when they had Tropical Storm Fay just a week and a half ago.



  11. Avatar
    Vicki Small August 26, 2008

    Good illustration, Amber. I haven’t seen that cell phone commercial; if I do, I’m afraid I’ll throw up, or something. It’s such a shallow, hollow message making light of a real crisis, in which real people are really starving. Real children are dying. And I have a hunch the ad-makers would have a good laugh, if we tried to get that across to them.

    Listen, Amber, if you like brown, you would *really* like living in southern Arizona! :o)

  12. Avatar
    Beth Ingersoll August 26, 2008

    How true a statement. I see a bit of that here where I live, because we are deep in the throes of drought. Our local paper mill, the biggest employer in our rural county, has had to close because there’s no water in the river to cool the tanks. The crops are awful, and the financial situation for the locals is bad. But it still pales in comparison to those in other countries, just like you said. We still have options.

    They don’t.

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