Friday, September 06, 2013

Give Me Your Eyes

I'm having one of what I call my "post-Africa" days. They come out of nowhere and can be gone just as quick.

I'm reading online and see a headline with some news about the royal baby and I think, "Why does anyone EVEN CARE?" How can I possibly care about something so trivial when just a few weeks ago I looked into the eyes of a 10 year old who is practically starving AND dying of AIDS?


I'm looking around my house, trying to decide where to start with the decluttering project and I'm angry. Angry that we have all of this stuff, most of it stuff that we don't use or need, and that there are people everywhere - EVERYWHERE - that are living without. Without a safe place to live or 99% of the stuff we've accumulated. I feel like throwing all of our junk away.

The kids come home from school and are "starving." They open the refrigerator and the cupboards and declare that there is nothing to eat. Really they're packed full of food, some of which will spoil and get thrown away before we get a chance to eat it. I'm angry that we take this food for granted and waste so much when there are people literally starving. I want to spend a week serving just one meal a day of plain rice and beans to my kids and then see if they open the fridge and still see nothing to eat.

Then I come out of the anger fog feeling overly dramatic. Like throwing away our stuff or denying certain foods will make anyone's life better. There isn't some magic balance out there where if we go without it means someone else has more.

But I think of the kids in Africa that I've spent time with. Sometimes it's just so hard to reconcile what we have with what they don't.

I struggle with this every day. It's hard to find that balance between living well and living in excess. One day I want to throw all of our stuff away and the next I'm oogling yarn in a catalog like I'll die without one more skein.

I remember, before I even stepped foot on African soil, humming along to a song on the radio and issuing it as a prayer:

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten

Give me Your eyes so I can see


I think it's safe to say that my eyes have been opened. Opened to a continent, a country, a community of people that are in need. Once I saw it with my own eyes and held it's hand I can't turn away or put it on the back burner.

My eyes have been opened. And it's a good thing. Life isn't fair - and that's a good thing, too. I certainly don't deserve all of the blessings that have come my way. 

I'm going to continue to search for the balance. You won't find me selling off all of our possessions any time soon... but you will find me spending my time advocating for the children I love that are half a world away.


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