Some days my heart is heavy, until God picks it up. I often think of the poorest of people and how they can even smile on a day they haven't had anything to eat. My thoughts wonder if their children can bring a chuckle out of them, even if they can't bring home clean water, the way my son knows just the right time to bring in the silly.
The subject of giving came up in my Pilates class last Friday and as we begin a set of leg lifts, I mention blessing others with clean water in the third world. Immediately two women, who I adore, began talking at once, and they are not saying the words I expected to hear. My brain is trying to take in what they both are now alternating as my leg is rotating in circles. I lead another change in exercise, on to inner thighs now, I process.
First's argument is that the government will just come and undo whatever good is done upon the do-gooders departure. Second's argument is she'd rather help those in our country before helping other countries.
I am able to overcome First's perspective right away from what I have been told first hand from several different missionaries overseas. Sadly, I'm sure this has happened, but God has asked us to give. Should we really think that not giving is better than giving that is torn away. Most of what I know is that the governments allow the people to help and tolerate their presence.
Sitting up, we stretch, prayers stretching heavenward, God there are 12 other people in this class please let them not be swayed by these two opinionated, bold women. Sending my other side down onto the mat, I give simple directions, everyone knows we are repeating the same exercises, perfect opportunity for me to start talking and just as I do three other women pipe up and respectfully disagree with First's harshness.
I move on as Second still insistently says I'm going to help my own first. There is a lul, why does it have to be one or the other, I offer. Why can't it just be giving to those who are needy, regardless of the lines that mark them in somewhere or out otherwhere? I find soft smiles in a couple of quiet women. I wonder if they think I'm stuck in my ideals not really knowing that the world is a sin laden broken place. I know, which is why I hope I'm always stuck here.
I am purposed in my words, if there is such a need then who are we if we do not give. I agree, there are poorest of poor people here, where the lines tell us we one, and I love giving to our local food banks, battered women's shelters and the like. The difference I find is that our government has programs in place to aid many needy the vast majority of whom have access to clean, safe drinking water.
The third world has no programs, nobody hears the cry of the parents for their children, nobody reaches their hands out and how could they. A missionary told our church on Sunday that half of Haiti does not eat on any given day. 50%. How can I comprehend, I feed a snack loving three year old 6 times a day.
Back to stretching and reaching upward, I am reminded that Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you." (Mark 14:7) I wonder if we will always have them so that we can always have more opportunities to be his hands and feet. More days to say, yes Jesus, I will feed and nourish your children, like you feed and nourish me.
Some days my heart is light because I give it to Him - the Great giver of joy- upon waking. Joy, the more of life I experience, the more it is revealed, only comes from one place. Joy is not revealed in how perfect our lives look, how we feel on the inside or look on the outside. Feelings, appearances, careers are all so mercurial. I imagine there is a silly boy on the other side of the world, bringing forth a smile from his mother's dry lips only because of that Joy.
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