Saturday, September 26, 2009

Raindrops and Bare Feet

Written 9/24/09
Week 28

We can do no great things, just small things with great love. It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it- Mother Theresa

Today I felt a raindrop- it hit me right on the side of the nose. There was also a spot every 3 feet or so that had evidence of a raindrop- yes, a single one (this was a light rain). Allegedly it rained last week, but this is the first I have seen or felt rain since April, making the seemingly mundane newsworthy.

The “bare feet” referred to in the title aren’t ours; Josh would faint if I ever went out without shoes. It’s a bit risky, with broken glass, thorns, hookworm (only in moist places, so not in dry season), and scorpions (which is not to say kids don’t go barefoot, like, all the time). Instead, they belong to an 11-year-old boy we have befriended, D. He was supposed to leave for [farm] school 2 weeks ago, but we saw him walking along the street in town. We stopped and asked why he wasn’t in school, and he said it was because he doesn’t have shoes.

It’s true; countless kids are kept out of school due to not being able to afford school fees, shoes, or a uniform. They are born poor, so they shouldn’t be educated? How much potential and human capital is being sacrificed by condemning these children to a life simply focused on survival? Growing up in the U.S., I just took it for granted that education was free and mandatory.

How many pairs of shoes do you have? This includes casual shoes, work boots, athletic footwear, dress shoes, slippers, sandals and flip-flops, etc. I did a search, and found out the average American woman owns somewhere between 19 and 27 pairs of shoes (no results for men). If we each cut back to just 5 pairs, think of how many kids we could send to school with the money formerly allocated to footwear.

Josh and I know we cannot single-handedly support every kid, but D was so close to being able to go. We bought him some shoes (costing less than 20 American dollars), some socks, and some school supplies. Although he was thankful, he’s an 11-year-old boy, so he wasn’t super-enthusiastic about getting school supplies. But his grandma? She looked at us as if we had gone crazy (I love that look!)

We were so grateful for this opportunity. Sometimes it is really difficult to know who to help, where the legitimate need is. Remember that when we say “yes” to someone, we are essentially saying “no” to someone else, as there are limited resources. We have been praying for God to show us very specific ways in which to serve others, and He has blessed us abundantly.

Recently, we were listening to a song by Chris Rice, and these lyrics really touched us:

See you had no choice which day you would be born
Or the color of your skin, or what planet you’d be on
Would your mind be strong, would your eyes be blue or brown
Whether daddy would be rich, or if momma stuck around at all

So if you find yourself in a better place
You can’t look down on the frown on the other guy’s face
You gotta stoop down low, look him square in the eye
And get a funny feeling, ‘cause you might be dealing ...

How did I find myself in a better place
I can’t look down on the frown on the other guy’s face
‘Cause when I stoop down low, look him square in the eye
I get a funny feeling, I just might be dealing
With the face of Christ

How did I find myself in a better place? I ask God that question every single day.


Brittany said...

I heard that song a long time ago and forgot about it (I remember I liked it then, too) but reading those lyrics now and seeing your question: "How did I find myself in a better place?"... hits so hard. And I ask that, too, and get so frustrated. Why are some so poor and some so rich? Why do some people struggle more trying to decide WHICH pair of shoes to buy (me) rather than those who struggle just trying to get one pair of shoes, old, used, or the wrong size but at least it's a shoe...
Thanks for your thoughts and reminders.

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