Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We are so very blessed

It doesn't seem a fitting picture, does it?
But I used this conglomerate-photo in a Spanish project last year, so it was on hand.
And these are some of the things I'm most thankful for.
Me climbing a mountain: my health and strength and enjoyment of nature.
One of our high desert home dinners: blackened salmon tacos. So very thankful for food.
Grandma Me with 2-hour-old Liya and proud big brother: I am so blessed.
(And every baby should be adored and well-fed.)

I cried in class today. I couldn’t help it, and I was the only one, too. We were watching a film called Hungry for Profit, made in 1985, about agri-business. We saw images of the rich of Brazil—their cars, their yachts, their leisure activities—in the cities contrasted with Brazilian babies in hospital beds, some crying, some too weak to cry, all of them malnourished to the point of death. I so badly wanted to be there so that I could, in turn, pick up each baby and let them feel human warmth, touch, love. And do that all day every day. (And I would cry my eyes out all day every day.)

A doctor in the film picked up a baby, very machine-like (I suppose one might have to develop a thick skin? Or maybe she was simply trying to be business-like in front of the camera.) and began to describe the baby’s condition. The skin was hanging on the arms. The face was gaunt, but the baby was precious. And, we were told, the baby died four days later. My son was a newborn baby that year. I watched mothers hold starving babies they couldn’t feed, and my heart hurt. I tried so hard to hold back the tears, but I couldn’t. Silently, they rolled down my contorted face. My young student friends looked at me warmly. Typing this makes me cry again.

More than 20,000 children around the world died today of hunger-related causes. And almost a billion people are hungry, some of them in my community. Whatever you believe about the politics of movies like Hungry for Profit or social justice or anything else, hunger is our problem.

The children are on my mind. If I lived across the street from the hospital where those babies were dying and I didn’t respond or change my behavior in whatever way I could, if I didn’t do what was in my power to do, it would be criminal and shameful. But that is essentially what I am doing as I sit here day after day, too much focus on my own little life, and studying and snacking and eating too much and debating whether or not I should bake cookies—the deciding factor being whether or not I need to eat them. I am not condemning eating and making home and having fun, but I am praying about what God wants from me. No excuses. No explanations.

I’m not trying to pluck at your heartstrings or make you feel guilty, either. Not at all. You know what God has put on your heart. Do that thing. I’m just sharing my own heart today. While I eat my Thanksgiving feast this week, I will rejoice and thank the Lord. I will enjoy my family and count my many blessings! But, inside, I will also be thinking about this. And praying about what I can do now, while I am where I am.

Happy, blessed Thanksgiving, friends!
I'm thankful for each of you who read here.


  1. Wow! I will pray with you about this. The problem is systemic, but God is crying with you. Thanks for the reminder, because we need it.

    1. Thanks, Laura. I appreciate that! It *is* a systemic, problem isn't it! Like most social problems in the world. And individual responses can't solve the actual problem, but at least we can obey God. If a man is hungry. . . (This is not a reaction to your comment, by the way. I don't think you are saying at all that because of the systemic nature of the problem that individual responses are not needed.) I thought about this for a long time last night. Should I post something that could have been seen as emotionally-based? As a rule, I won't do that. But I realized that, while I felt emotional, the sense I had of wanting to do something is important, and I want to remember it. So, I am serious about this. . .and I really am praying and thinking and seeking. . . but I shouldn't say more than that right now. Thanks for Your thoughts and prayers, Laura.

    2. Oh, and part of my response to this--emotionally and otherwise--*is* the systemic problem. I've been thinking about it for a long time, too--even before the movie--and wondering what is the best way to be involved in that battle.

  2. Oh, the systemic part is absolutely emotional! I have never been quite so aware of systemic problems as I am right now, and I think--wow, how does this get started and what can we ever do about it? So many vested interests want to keep things the broken way they are. But do I only see the parts I'm not involved in, and not the ones I am?

  3. I would have cried with you in class.
    I struggle so much with how to live in middle-class America (where GOD himself placed me) and raise my children and love my husband well, and still obey the commands to love widows and orphans and 'the least'. sigh.

    enjoy your family and your school break (as if you wouldn't ;-) ) much love ~ Tracy

    1. Yeah, I know. I do know that it's good to celebrate and enjoy the gifts God has given us, and I don't intend to change that at all. I just hope that I won't forget or fail to respond to the fact that there are people literally dying for lack of food. Children. Adults. It's so sad.

  4. It really is overwhelming to consider all of the people who are suffering. In days past, people mainly only knew of those in their immediate surroundings who needed help. Now, with the aid of technology, we can no longer remain in ignorance about the vast number of people. So the question becomes, who *is* my neighbor and how can *I* help them? I guess it is a day to day response and remaining sensitive--not becoming hardened as we are so prone to do! May God give us grace to do what we can, when we can. Thank you for sharing--may we all have such a tender heart!

    1. I've thought about that, too, Silvana--how technology puts all the world's news and trouble right into my house. And what does God want my response to be? I do, like you, pray for His grace to guide and provide according to His will for me in this. And I pray that I will keep my eyes open. :-)