Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Are we really all that different?

I will never understand how things can be so different yet so much the same.

I will never understand why one person gets to live her life in luxury while another struggles her entire life when both live the lives they do just because of where they were born.

And I will never understand why everyone doesn't "get it". Why is it so hard to make even the smallest sacrifice of your time, of your finances, of yourself? Why is it so hard to love someone you've never met, just because she lives a different life than you, in a far away place or even your own backyard? Why is it so hard to give to those that can never repay you? It isn't hard at all. But to us, the ones that have it all, we so often make it appear as though it is.

Are we really that selfish that we refuse to spend ourselves for the poor? Or do we just think that it's pointless to do anything since we are single handily unable to save the world?

We are moved to tears and slightly open our wallets when disaster strikes, but it often stops there. Once the media moves on to the next big story we forget that the suffering continues and we move on with our lives while they continue to try to rebuild theirs. And what about the stories that never make the news? There are so many. Every day. Everywhere. But they go unnoticed, unseen, forgotten, never known.

Until you step into their world you will never know. Just a glimpse is all you need to change your life forever. Just a moment is all the Lord requires to open your eyes to what you have been blind to. Once you see it, it cannot be ignored. You will never forget. And you are forced to act. To remain unmoved, unchanged, is to ignore the command given by Him. Love.

I still hear that I am too obsessed with Guatemala. Some are tired of hearing about it and others just think I've taken this too far when really we are far from where it is going. This wasn't my decision and today and every day I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that He did not just open my eyes, but He rocked me to the very center of my being and brought me to a place that I would be unable to escape. I am so thankful every day that He continues to work in my life, that He walks before me and beside me and directs my path and that He continues to break my heart for the most vulnerable people in the world. Just when I think He cannot grow my love anymore He proves me wrong again. The stirring and growing never stops and I pray it never will.

I miss Guatemala every day. I long to be there while working very hard to live and love right where I am. And I constantly count the days until I will return.

I have 68 days to go. October 10 is approaching quickly. A team from our home church is traveling and I am so excited to spend this time serving with them there. Maybe it's because time is moving quickly and registrations are coming in and I am working on trip details a lot this week that has my heart in a flutter of anticipation and my mind in a race. More so than usual. I am so excited about this trip, as always, and being able to deliver more water filters to families in Pueblo Nuevo. We are not giving up on making sure that EVERY family there has access to clean water and more importantly that every person there hears the message of Christ.

To escape the thought that we are all so different, but so much the same has come up in everything I've done the past of few days.

I walk down our gravel and oyster shell driveway in a pair of cheap, thin flip flops. The rocks and shells under my feet cause me to wince in discomfort and I wonder why I didn't wear one of my other pairs of shoes. Another pair out of many. The heat is unbearable for more than a few minutes and the humidity is suffocating. It isn't long before I return inside to the comfort of air conditioning and an intentional cool shower. Later I look through the pantry at all the options we have for dinner and do not have a craving for any of them so I get into my car and I drive to the store where I buy something else for dinner that is more pleasing to us for the night and stack up on snacks and fresh fruit and new socks and more Legos for the child that has become a small scale architect. As I leave the store those same feet wearing the same cheap flip flops hit the pavement one step at a time and I think...I wonder what she is doing right now? On the same earth, made by the same Creator, loved just as much by Him as I am. What is she doing? I make it home in time to throw dinner on our plates, eat and relax for a while before sending a precious little boy to bed. He sleeps in a real bed. In a house that has doors that are more than shower curtains. In a house that has a roof with no holes in it. In a house that isn't over run by rodents. He didn't go hungry today. Had he gotten sick, he would have been able to see a doctor immediately. He had nothing to do but play with an abundance of toys, do his learning activities, and be smothered all day with hugs and kisses. Once he was asleep I sat in silence. Again my thoughts returned to her.

In flip flops similar to mine, where did her feet walk today? The same as every day, I'm sure. She walked up and down hills, on concrete and dirt. Perhaps she made her way all the way down the mountain and back up again. The dirt covering her feet and legs is not enough to cover the proof that she is always up, always on her feet, always walking, always working. She does her best to feed her children and she tucks all of them into one bed at night. A bed made of one thin foam mattress on top of a dirt floor with a torn shower curtain as a makeshift door. I've only seen the mice during the day and they are quite at home there. I can only imagine their activity in the dark of night. If it rains tonight water will pour through the holes in her roof and the dirt will become mud. I wonder what she does as the children sleep. No doubt she continues her never ending work. I cannot adequately explain her life. There are no words to truly explain it. And she is just one of many that we have grown to love. She happens to be in a village in Guatemala that we know about. But all over Guatemala and all over the world the same story plays daily and for each one that lives it I am overwhelmed with love for them. Whether I know them or not.

I cannot change the world. I cannot change a country. I cannot change even one small village. But I believe that He can. And I believe that if we allow Him to use us, it isn't as hard as we may think. We aren't here to save. We are here to love. To love Him. To love each other. That includes everyone.

The God that created me, the One that created you, created every person that is suffering in the world right now, from the youngest orphan to the oldest widow and everyone in between. He created those that love Him and those that reject Him.

This country that we are blessed to have been born in is a very small part of the world He created. We all walk the same land. It may be in different countries, but it is the same Earth. So why do we act as if things are so different when we are really all the same? What makes us so much better than those that have never had a chance? What gives us the right to keep the blessings we have been given to ourselves? And what gives us the right to keep Him to ourselves?

In the end, there is no difference at all. We are all born the same. We take the same first breath. We spend our lives just trying to get through it. And then we die. Some will find themselves rejoicing in Heaven while others will spend eternity in hell. Regardless of where we are then, we will all be the same.

We don't have to wait until eternity to see that we really aren't all that different at all. And we don't have to wait until eternity to find out what we were supposed to be doing during our lives on Earth. If we claim to love Him, we must love each other. If we claim to be Christ followers, we must follow His example and be the most loving, most compassionate, most giving people we can possibly be. All we have to do is love and have hearts willing to follow Him anywhere. He will take care of the rest.

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