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To pour salt into wounds

March 1, 2012

My third grader gave a presentation on water today at school. Her main point was that we need to share and use less and be aware of the gross comparison between the use of an average American person (100-175 gallons/day) and an African family (5 gallons/day). The demonstration, which she practiced at least 5 times at home, used water. As I watched, I was thinking of the fight which started our morning, when I mistakenly sent her little sister to the bathroom to hurry up her long shower.

We are horribly inconsistent and hypocritical, we humans.

My daughter’s classmates used a variety of media and materials which they navigated with finesse superior to the teacher. They are privileged, in their abundance and waste.

Oh, how do we become advocates and activists in our comfortable lives?

Which is why I have to make myself uncomfortable. A good friend has asked why I read such “depressing” books and this is why. If I don’t read stories to the point of weeping, I forget. I forget the urgency of other people’s children. I become disgruntled over class size and school fundraisers. I continue on with this Truman Show of a life.

Today I finished Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis. Another Juvenile Fiction story about children navigating war, orphanhood, hunger, and death. I wept. It was probably compounded by the Prologue in Girls Like Us, by Rachel Lloyd, in which she meets an 11 year old foster child who had been sold for sex up and down the East Coast. Perhaps I am soft because of Francis Chan’s talk this past weekend at The Justice Conference in which he passionately admonished us to view the hurting children of the world as if they were our own. Viewed that way, you kind of feel that the needs are urgent and fall into the emergency category. I mean, wouldn’t they if it were our child?

But I am here with 3rd graders giving wonderful presentations on water.

What do we do when we aren’t able to wrap our arms around a newly orphaned or abused child in an Internally Displaced Refugee Camp? How do we become activists and deal with our own hypocrisy and abundance and not lose our minds? How do I shape my own kids’ lives while raising them in this environment?

I must struggle. I must continue to read hard stories and weep, pouring salt into wounds, to remember. When we forget, we callously cease praying, cease giving, and worst of all, cease hoping for God to work.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jack permalink
    March 1, 2012 10:36 pm

    Maybe the hard truth is that we can’t help everyone but can pray for those God puts in our hearts at any one moment. The sadness is still relevant and based on real need and I’m guessing Jesus felt that as He said we will always have the poor with us.

    I love kids trying to make a difference and hope it becomes part of their DNA

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