America - land of plenty.
We have it so easy. We have endless resources. When something breaks, we throw it away and go buy a new one. We have a pill for every little sickness so we never have to feel discomfort. And when difficulties come, sometimes we don't confront them. We just pour ourselves a drink and brush it under the rug. We have machines that wash clothes and dishes. We flip a switch and have power, and we turn on the faucet and water comes out. Hot water. And soap! Oh glorious soap! We never have to think about where our next meal will come from, and we eat with so much variety. Every culture right at our fingertips. We drive just to go a mile down the road. And when we are bored, we have every activity under the sun to preoccupy us. We have the opportunity to hop on a train or bus or plane and experience places other than our own hometowns. And we get annoyed at the simplest things. I think I use the phrase "that's so annoying" 100 times a day. When our phones die or someone takes our parking spot or so-and-so did such-and-such. And I never think twice about any of these things. We really do live a life of luxury, no matter how big our paycheck is.
It's so opposite here.
The children at the orphanage here all share stories of abandonment, by their own mothers and fathers. Stories of heartbreak and despair. They have been beaten and abused, and have experienced death and loss firsthand. Most of them were left on the street to die, unwanted by their own families. But by God's great grace, Pastor Maula took them in and fed them and gave them a bed to sleep in and put clothes on their backs. And their hearts have been transformed and are now filled with joy unending. They are the strongest individuals I know. And they are all under the age of 18.
Every time I come here the same things blow my mind. That these people can live so simply, yet be so rich. They don't have hot water or washing machines or unlimited data. Most of them don't have electricity or something other than dirt for a floor. But they are rich in joy. Rich in relationships. Rich in spirit. And when their physical resources run out, they rely on each other.
Our everyday problems are so small.
I don't think having plenty is a terrible thing. When we have plenty, we have plenty to give. But it does make it so incredibly hard to be thankful for what we have. Funny how that works.
I think it makes it easier to love someone deeply when you understand them. And to fully understand them, you have to live like they do. Walk a mile in their shoes and see the world from their perspective.
That's the kind of love that Jesus showed. He stooped down to our level and ate what we ate and worked like we worked and wept like we wept. And that's how I want to do it too. Strip everything away that I've grown so accustomed to rely on and just walk a mile or two here in some Haitian shoes. Then maybe love can come and just wash over everything like a flood.