Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Never the Same

Yesterday I spent some time in Wichita (a large city north of where we live for those of you not from here) for work.  I arrived in the city 45 minutes before my first meeting so I decided to run over to Kohl's for some retail therapy.  By the time I weaved through traffic I had nearly 30 minutes left, but none the less, I hadn't seen the inside of a shopping store or mall in nearly a year, so I didn't care! 

But the smells of newness, the sights of bright popping spring colors, the sounds of baskets scraping the floors, the dinging of newly-checked clothes being scanned, the atmosphere of satisfaction on the part of the customer and his/her new purchase as he/she strolls out the door....

...actually left me feeling sick.  Seriously.

I stopped after I walked around awhile and let the realization that the excitement of shopping and buying more and justifying my need for more no longer was satisfied by this excess-driven society. 

Whoa.  It took me a minute as I battled in my head with these thoughts..."Lord, why have you taken this once-pleasureful act away from me?  Am I always going to feel this sense of needing forgiveness from my past ignorance?  Why?  Did rescuing this little orphan man, my son, really change my heart so much that I don't even enjoy past excitements?  What am I to do with this?"

 I continued to walk around and pray for the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf for what I am supposed to do with this changed heart.  As you may know, from previous posts, that I have been struggling with this unsettled feeling.  This stirring of my soul.  And I feel like it stirred up into my throat yesterday, this bubbling, like something was about to surface in my mind about a direction and leading...something related to this rage against my previous spending habits, ignorance to my selfishness, anger for my justifications, lack of prayer about purchases and on and on. 

I ran across this paragraph in a book Sarah Basile and I are reading together.  7: An experimental mutiny against excess is the book, by Jenn Hatmaker. She surprised me with the book and I have been surprised with what I'm being challenged by in reading it.  I want to share this particular paragraph that spoke so dearly to my soul as I have been dealing with this exact issue day in and day out with my children.

Jenn and her husband were in the process of adopting 2 children from Ethiopia when she wrote this:
     "My children live in the ninth poorest country in the world where 46 percent are undernourished with a global hunger index listed as "extremely alarming."  Tragically, the World Food Programme, that assists eleven million people in Ethiopia, reduced the emergency food ration by one third, just when food assistance is critically required.  Meanwhile, embarrassed government officials are insisting the sky is not falling and international intervention is not needed.  The chances my African children are going to bed hungry are so high I almost don't need to waste a line space speculating.  
     And tonight my kids here with me in the land of plenty threw away a pound of food because they didn't have ketchup.  
     How can we extract our children from this filthy engine where indulgence and ignorance and ungratefulness and waste are standard protocol?  Where they know they can throw perfectly good food away because there is always more in the pantry?  
     I wept for all my children tonight, my Ethiopian children orphaned by disease or hunger or poverty who will go to bed with no mother tonight and my biological children who will battle American complacency and overindulgence for the rest of their lives.
     I don't know who I feel worse for."

Every night as I cook supper I think on these things, exactly what she was describing.  I find myself getting SO irritated with myself and my children as they pick and choose what they will eat, throw fits if it isn't what they want and throw the rest mindlessly away.  I think I get most upset with myself based on their actions because I feel responsible for them being this ages 1, 2, and 5. 

Breaks my. heart. 

But, there can be a change.  I want to be the change.  I want my children to be the change.  We can.  We will.

To quote Jenn again, "The poor world is begging for mercy like Bartimaus, while the rich world is asking for more favor like James and John."

We will start today.  Be prepared for changes ahead. :)

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