Perspective

I’m feeling not just a little silly and even stupid all of a sudden.

I was showing Courtney the new washer and dryer I want to get. You know, not because we need them, but because they’d “complete” the house and give us a little bit more room. And then I went to CNN.com and saw the image I’ve been avoiding all day.

On the main page they have an image of a child in Somalia who is starving. I knew it was there hours ago, but I really struggle seeing those kids of images. Starvation has always been a very scary thing to me even from my very early years. Stories of poverty and its associated ills have haunted me. I remember as a very young boy, my mother told me a story about a family she knew in Texas who was poor and how humble they were. I still say prayers for that mother and those kids. I was maybe six when I heard about them….

So I’ve been avoiding that image, but I went to that page, got distracted while it loaded, and came back to see those hollow but life-filled eyes. Those sunken cheeks highlighted by the vivid brightness of white teeth behind faded lips. And so soon after dreaming of what my house might be….

Perspective, I think is what wiser men than I would call it. Perspective and opportunity.

Those stories and images impact me, and I always feel compelled to beg for safety and peace for those people. I’m sure those prayers are answered in their own way and in His time, probably often in ways that I don’t understand and probably in ways I hate to think about.

As a father, it is easy for me to weep for my own children, especially the thought that such a child as I saw in the image could be my own. Such raw emotion is a potent driver in my desires for safety and the primary reason that food storage matters to me. But this child is not just a child, but rather someone’s child. And far too often–if not always–their circumstance is not of their making and their parents are unable to help any more than I would be without the bounty that is my life.

To be such as these… The deepest and darkest nightmare I have, and yet here it is. Now. Today. The zombies and monsters that haunt our dreams are nothing when compared to the stark reality that today, for far too many, will be a last day. That tonight, for far too many, will be a last night. That a mother and a father find them powerless to save their children.

I used to pray that I could take upon myself the suffering of that family in Texas for just a moment so that their mother and children would be able to have a moment of peace. But these? How can I take that on? How can I begin to compensate or adequately cover even a portion of what life is for them? How can I, in my infinite weakness, even begin to give them anything of significant measure?

The issues of my life wilt in the reality of life for these. The issues I fret over, burn with shame for pettiness. For simplicity and frailty.

It’s a matter of perspective. Of opportunity. The perspective to be grateful. The opportunity to prepare. The opportunity to share. The opportunity to do what can be done given what we have. Even though I were rich, what I can give and do today in my lack is of equal value and significance in the war against hunger, famine, and poverty. The same is true of all of us.

Give, for we have been given much.

Anything less proves us unprofitable and unfit.

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2 Responses to Perspective

  1. Sarah L. says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people who have less than I do. It’s easy to feel sorry for myself when I see others around me, but we have a roof over our heads and food to eat.

  2. oh you guys are so nice. then there are people like me. and i think of evolutionary theory and how there are more babies born than can be sustained and death is not the end, neither suffering. and that we knew what we were signing up for before we got here and despite the hunger in somalia and the wars in diverse places, they have love and that is the ulitmate lesson in the gospel of jesus christ, so go buy your washer and dryer because you can. i love you guys.

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