Saturday, August 6, 2011

I returned from my second trip to Ethiopia eight weeks ago. I wrestled with how to justify the tremendous luxuries in my life...luxuries like internet service and soccer camp and a grocery cart heaped with my family's favorite foods. And as I wrestled, the summer days galloped by. There were visits from friends, vacation Bible school, long days working on the building project, and afternoons of raspberry-picking.

And then, quite literally, my world came crashing down again...



Silly, really. It was an old globe and told its age in country names and borders no longer existent. But when it fell this week, and the continent of Africa split wide open, I felt split wide open too. You have read the stories, now all over the news. But you can close the browser window and recycle the newspaper, even if the pictures still haunt. But now what do you do? And the hardest question...what am I to do today?

We sent money to World Vision and are talking with our children and attempting to raise awareness where we can...but how do I daily change my life so that others' lives might be changed? I am working on this question yet, and I have been ever since we returned from Ethiopia with Moses a year ago. But Ann reminded me of a change I can make today...a daily choice that affects my family and affects the world. It is a cookbook that is on my shelf and had been on my mother's shelf for years before that. The recipes aren't life changing...but might they be? Think about your refrigerator, your pantry, your garden, your family's needs and their wants. And maybe as we ask, "What can I do about Africa?" this might be one answer.

I have been challenged re-reading the preface to the 1982 edition of More-With-Less. I share below a few quotes that have made this rethink what is going on our table and why.
"As North Americans, most of us grew up believing we were born into an era of abundance. The ability to buy something has meant the right to have it. Christian discipleship now calls us to turn around."
"Our bodily needs are real and improtant, and meeting them is as important as meeting any need of a whole, integrated personality. Feeding a hungry stomach is in no way less honorable than thinking lofty spiritual thoughts. But when we invest too much in feeding ourselves, and want too much in return, something goes wrong. We work hard to make our eating more exciting. We satiate our taste buds and our stomachs. But something in us is not satisfied. We have gotten less with more. Timothy's words [1 Tim. 6:8] , "If we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content," have no meaning for us."
"We are looking for ways to live more simply and joyfully...ways that take their shape from living faith and the demands of our hungry world. There is not just one way to repsond, nor is there a single asnwer to the world's food problem. It may not be within our capacity to effect an answer. but it is within our capacity to search for a faithful response."
Will you continue to search with me for what that faithful response might look like in my family and yours?

3 comments:

Sarah and Kit Stewart said...

Riann,
I am so right there with you...my heart is broken open, and I continue to seek ways we can help. I will continue to hold you in my prayers. I love you.
sarah

tonia said...

yes, thinking and praying with you, dear Riann.

Erin Turner said...

Reading this a bit late -- but also at a time very relevant to the thoughts already racing through my head. Thank you.