Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Confused and Mixed-up

Okay, so this process is definitely one that forces you to open your eyes.  It gives you crazy perspective on the important stuff in life.  And it is completely messing up my head.  (Which is a good thing.)

Recently saw this blog Be "THE HANDS AND FEET" (check it out and be inspired).  Two things stand out to me.  First, this girl's life is amazing!  Absolutely love and am challenged that as a young woman, she has decided to move away from everything familiar to do something incredible with her time and talents.  Second, I am overwhelmed by the stories of the children.  HOW CAN THIS BE?  6lb one-year-olds?  6lb one-year-olds?!  And not just one--it's a repeated story!  Seriously, how does anything in my life compare to this?  Food is a basic necessity. 

I just don't even have a way to comprehend this huge disconnect.  I mean, last week I spent like 10 minutes trying to find the perfect gift wrap for a present, meanwhile around the world someone doesn't even have enough food to feed their child even ONE meal a day!  How is it that I get to go the grocery store to decide which kind of ice cream I would like to buy for a casual snack, while in some places in the world parents mix mud with a small bit of food just to fill their children's bellies? 

Inside my head I am screaming, "THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!!"

There is so much to ponder and evaluate.  This stuff spins through my head and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  But I do know that I would love to have it move from just thoughts into action.  Finding ways to better use our resources-time, talents and money-so that we can share the amazing blessings that we have. 

I know I severely lack in my ability to adequately communicate my thought processes.  But a week or so ago, I saw a post from another mom in the process of adoption.  Earlier this year she travelled to Ethiopia with her children.  She so eloquently put into words how I have often imagined that I will react when I see so much of what I have read or seen on videos with my own eyes.

"I liken my first taste of Africa and my processing of it these last few months to someone who is going through the five stages of grief. I honestly think while I was there, I was in a state of shock. Being slightly numb is about the only way I could keep from weeping at every moment. I was carried along by the rhythm and flow of life in Ethiopia—the sights, and sounds, and smells. But I didn’t know how to feel. I was overwhelmed by the need and my lack of ability to do anything about it. And I certainly didn’t know how to reconcile everything I was seeing with my life back in America.
Which led me to anger. At injustice. At rich, spoiled Americans. At myself. Some justified anger, sure, but mostly my anger was misdirected. I wanted someone to blame. Surely someone was responsible for all this death and sickness and disparity, and so it must be all those people who don’t know, who don’t care, who don’t do anything. If they would just listen. If they would just care. I was ready to point my finger at anyone and everyone.

And, of course, at myself. Because Africa, like a magnifying mirror, reveals more of yourself than you really want to see. Things you hide well in a land of prosperity--like selfishness, laziness, greed, arrogance-- get exposed in a land of want. When you see a woman who has nothing use her meager supply of water and injera to serve you tea-- you can’t help but think of how often you’ve opened your overflowing pantry and sighed that there’s just nothing to fix for dinner. When you meet a man who walks the 3 miles back and forth to work, works 12 hour days, 7 days a week, all for about $2 a day, and he counts himself as blessed—you can’t help but think of how often you’ve complained you needed “me time” after a day “stuck” in your comfy house homeschooling your well-fed kids and folding enough laundry to clothe an army. When you give a child a piece of gum, and you look back to see them sharing it with 6 other children around them--you can’t help but think of overflowing Easter baskets and Christmas stockings stuffed full of goodies. And you feel fat. Regardless how much you weigh, you just feel like a soft, flabby glutton.
And so I entered the stage of bargaining. OK, God, I can still live in my house as long as I speak up for orphans and bring one home to live in it. I can still have 25 pairs of shoes as long as a couple of them are TOMS. I can still spend hours online doing nothing productive, as long as I occasionally post something thought provoking on facebook. I can still own way more than I need, as long as I donate some of the stuff I don’t really want anymore to Goodwill."
Please go here to read the rest of her post: Three Months and Five Stages Later.

This is a life-changing process for sure...

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