Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Excess

I feel like I've always noticed just how many "things" we have, but in light of the economy and especially since the earthquake in Haiti, my "things" have been magnified; by like, ten thousand. I notice it all the time now: sitting at Panera with a steaming coffee, orange juice and french toast bagel in a warm and clean atmosphere complete with music humming in the background. Can you imagine how a Haitian might look at that? A breakfast fit for a king! At home with a book, a chi tea latte and a dark mocha almond Kashi granola bar. Luxuries beyond compare! Then I look around at all of Asher's bright, shiny new toys, clothes, you name it. I read an article in Mothering magazine about a couple who decided not to register for their baby-to-be. They instead asked for exclusively second hand items. Sure there were many who were confused and inconvenienced by this somewhat extreme notion, but part of me wished we had done something similar.

At the Brookside office we don't get too many phone calls, but when we do, many are from folks who are in need. Normally we don't know these people so we try to hear about their situation a bit and decided what kind of help we can or cannot give from there. Last week "Brittany" called. Kevin (our pastor) had filled up her gas tank earlier in the week and now she was asking if we could help her out with food. As I was talking to her I could hear a baby in the background. She was nine months old and mom couldn't believe the amount of food a child that size and age could eat. I asked Brittany if she ever tried making her own baby food since it's much more cost effective. She hadn't and didn't know how to without a food mill or processor. Of course, with the excess in my home, I had both an electric and a manual food mill. We made arrangements for Brittany to come pick up a gift card and a food mill. Little did she know that she was in for much more than a food mill! Among the baby excess we have accumulated, I came up with unused bottles, diaper cream, infant medicine, baby wash and lotion, even a few jars of baby food. I prayed that she wouldn't be insulted by me trying to shove off all of this on her, and she wasn't. I explained to her how God had really blessed us with friends and family who gave us all of these things. All she could do was reply, "I wish we were." As she left I tried my best to squeeze in some words of encouragement, but I know what she needed was more than a pat on the shoulder and a temporary fix. She needs a relationship with the God who created her, who has a plan for her, who cares and wants to provide for her, to give her hope in the everlasting and not things that fade away.

I wrestled with God that day. How is this fair? That someone just a few miles away, in the same town, same life scenerio, be scraping around while I live my life in excess? Maybe it's one of those things we're not to have full understanding of. Maybe it's meant to inspire me to live life differently, or to inspire you. Either way, we're both aware now. And awareness can be the beginning of something, anything...

1 comment:

Erin said...

Man, you said it. I'm right there with ya. And I know that feeling guilty for everything we have is not productive, but I do think it's good to be sobered into a new perspective and to be content and generous with what we have. But yeah, I don't know what to do with that, either. That is cool that you had such a tangible opportunity to share with someone else (and not just the "stuff," but Jesus too).