I’m gonna be honest without giving specifics, okay? We’re in a rough patch right now (and by we, I mean me, Gabe, and the girls). I’m just going to lump it all into a mild (relatively speaking–it doesn’t seem all that mild at the moment) version of post-traumatic-stress disorder (the “trauma” being a heart attack, reverse culture shock, a trampoline accident, hospital bills, etc) with a hefty dose of spiritual attack thrown in.
(I love parentheses!!)
We’ve had some challenges and trials lately to be sure, and while we’ve appeared to navigate through them pretty okay, I think there’s a lot of residual yuck that’s still hanging on and manifesting itself in some really unpleasant/uncomfortable ways. We’re braving new territory here, folks. And I’m not really handling it well. Much. At all. But I’m clinging to God, and that’s always a good thing.
So that’s that.
In other news, we had a really great community group meeting (small group from church) at our house tonight. We talked a lot about the American Dream & what does God really want from us & love vs. sacrifice & the concept of “enough.”
It reminded me of something I read in a book (another book!) this week, and I wanted to share it and maybe get your thoughts. The book is called a life of being, having, and doing enough (Wayne Muller). I’ll be honest. I started reading it word-for-word, then skimmed for a bit, and then super-skimmed the rest of it. It just wasn’t doing much for me. I may try it again sometime, because I think there’s some good stuff there.
One chapter, though, really, really spoke to me, and I’d like to share some of it here. I have no idea how much of someone’s book you’re allowed to post online, so I hope sharing parts of six paragraphs isn’t breaking the law. If so, please have mercy on me, Mr. Muller.
The chapter is called “Enough for Today” and starts on page 20 (quotes from the chapters in italics and my thoughts in [brackets]:
It is good for us to pause and reflect on how privileged we are to be able to carefully reflect on this essential question of what is, for us, enough. [so true, right?] There are literally billions of children, families, and communities all over the world for whom the issue of enough is not a meditation but a daily challenge to their life and death. [I met many of these children, families, and communities while we were in Cambodia.] The ways in which we honestly respond to that question have an undeniable, direct impact on the lives of those children. [In the past, I never, ever even considered that. Now I know it to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt. And that’s some big responsibility.]
Whenever we fear we may not have enough, we tend to hoard more than we need. This, of course, limits the food, energy, medicine, raw materials, and other resources available to the rest of our family. Twenty-five thousand children lose their lives every day for lack of clean drinking water, food, or inexpensive medicines costing less than a dollar. [This is the part that gets to me. It costs us so little to help someone so much.]
[Skipping some here… he talks about grappling with two questions] First, how do we know we have secured enough food, shelter, sanctuary, health, and security for ourselves and our loved ones? And second, as members of our global human family saturated with unnecessary suffering and death, what is enough for us to do, to give, to contribute? [This is the million-dollar question, eh?]
For those who can never be certain, when they awake in the morning, that they will have enough food, enough clothing, enough shelter, enough medical care, to keep themselves and their children alive through the end of this one day, sufficiency is not a matter of personal inquiry, it is a matter of life or death, a life of rising well before dawn to walk hours in both directions to fill their one unbroken container with enough barely drinkable water; to grow, find, borrow, forage–or, if they are so privileged, buy–enough rice, enough bread to keep their bodies alive one more day; to seek shelter from the elements, shade from the punishing midday sun; to barter, sell something–or someone–to procure whatever medicine or health care is required to keep their likely undernourished and dehydrated children healthy enough to contribute to their family’s daily survival. [Can you even imagine? Can you just try to imagine?]
[And then this clincher:] Were any of us forced to endure even one day’s experience of this life, the life of these billions of our sisters and brothers on the earth, we would undoubtedly rail in anger at the obvious injustice of it. [He goes on to say that for most of the world, there is no one…] who will ever make any of this–not today, not tomorrow, never ever–come out right.
This makes me sick. And sad. And full of what I believe is a very righteous anger (I’m floored by the number of times God mentions “justice” in the Bible). And a determination to devote my life to bringing justice and fairness and hope and Jesus and enough to those who are poor and oppressed.
I would love it if we could do this justice journey thing together. That doesn’t mean our journeys will look identical–they most certainly won’t–just so long as each of us is listening hard to our Father’s voice.
Holla if you’re with me. (and if you’re too old to use the word “holla,” you can still be with me, because I’m too old to use it too. I’m basically just saying to let me know, shout it out, let your voice be heard, that sort of thing.)
God, please give me the words–your words–in the days, weeks, months to come as we explore your heart for justice together. Amen.