Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hungry for "Change"

Psalm 146:2-4
New King James Version (NKJV)
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

I read this passage this morning and I didn’t know why, or for what. I woke from a restless sleep this morning to find out that my country has a new hope. Wether that is the hope for the present president or for a new president in four years, there remains hope. It amazes me to see so much social media going on among my friends and a certain sense of pessimism. I think this is the pessimism I woke and carried with me this morning. I began to understand a certain lack of hope among those of like mind in political understanding. In other words I drank the kool-aid this morning as I read so many negative statements about the elections.

I was also blessed with a new perspective today that gave me peace. Like many I was sickened to discover this morning the fate of the states for the next four years. The difference for me though is that it is a very different experience to see the hype of the elections and be in another country. I am a part of it and yet very separated from it.

A few weeks ago when I had dengue I sat on a couch in the house of my internship supervisor. We talked theology together and I took in a lesson on mercy at that time. Three little boys came tapping on his gate (all the homes here are surrounded by gates and extra locks. This allows people to keep their front door open for extra ventilation, and instead of ringing a door bell people tap on gates). 

It would have been easier to look away as you often have to do here as it is difficult to decipher when to help. Instead Pastor engaged. He talked with the boys. He asked them why they didn’t have food, he asked them if they wanted the same food he had for breakfast. He left and came back with three disposable plates of food. What stuck out to me with this image was his (almost two years old) son trotting behind him holding one of the three plates of food. This stuck out to me because for this little boy giving was natural. He didn’t have to think twice because his father gave him all that he needed to do this. He gave with joy, without fear or want. He just gave. 

I was given a wonderful gift today. A reminder of just how much my own father has given me to give without thinking. A little boy came up to me during a field day of Spanish class. He held out his hand and talked to me in Spanish. He told me he needed money. I wanted to look away but the image of my pastors son came to mind. I engaged. “What do you need money for?” “Food” he said.  I asked him why he needed food “I am hungry” he said. I asked him where he would get food from and he told me "the store." Without thinking I said; “Let’s go.” I abandoned my instructor and told her I would be back. The little boy led me to a store. On the way I asked him what he wanted for food, “rice” he said. In my mind this was enough to tell me he really wanted food because he wasn't asking for much, just rice. I took him to a restaurant instead and got him some food. 

I began to notice that he would turn his face to me when he would talk but would avert his eyes. When we sat down with his food he looked right at me and gave a big smile and in english said “Thank you!” It made me want to cry. I wanted to take him home with me. This is what I was afraid of, relationship. His hunger was satisfied for this afternoon but perhaps for dinner he will have to find another person who will open their pocket without looking at him to notice the freckles on his face. Perhaps he will find some other person he will have to hide his beautiful face from to get food. I wonder how many people will notice the bags under his eyes from malnutrition. It doesn’t take much to see that his belt was on the last hole and still wasn't enough to hold up his pants. I have said several prayers for this child today because that is all I can do. I hope I get to see him again. 

It was freeing to be able to offer food for this little boy today. When I thought freedom was looking away and not allowing myself to look into the face of want and hunger I found a different kind of freedom. A freedom to offer what God has given to me to one who needs. A freedom to look into the face of hunger because I have been given all I need in abundance to share and my father has shown me how! Freedom was found in the face of a child too ashamed to look at me when I realized I should have been the one too ashamed to look at him. We still live in abundance. We still have much to give. Hope is not lost. Freedom is still found when freedom is given. While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being!!!   

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