Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sunrise Blog Action Day, 15 October 2008

A very rosy pink sunrise this morning, and, Thanks be to God, the humidity back down to 28%! High humidity is wonderful; it reminds us how good it is to have low humidity, LOL!

October 15, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 3 Comments

What Poverty Does to US (Blog Action Day 2008)

Today, Blog Action Day 2008, we are to write about poverty.

There are many levels of poverty, and I have seen the worst. I have seen people without the very most basic necessities of life, without enough food, without a safe place to spend the night, people who would sell their baby for another fix, people who live in filth. The very worst thing about poverty is what it does to those who see it, but are not poor – it hardens our hearts.

The overwhelming nature of poverty, the knowledge that we can only do so much, that our efforts are like little drops in a great sea, it can make you turn away from doing anything at all. Afraid to feel to much, we build a wall around our hearts, so we won’t have to feel. We judge, we walk away.

So who is poor? Does not God look at our hearts? He teaches us that the poorest of the poor, who shares one crust of bread with another, is more merciful than the donor who gives generously out of abundance. If we harden our hearts, if we turn away from these problems, who then is poor? Do we not have a deep inner problem, a severe inner poverty, a poverty of spirit?

One of the great God-jokes I see as I live my life is how what we see and what we learn is often the opposite of what God teaches us. He tells us not to put our faith on earthly treasures, our cars, our houses, our material possessions. He tells us the greatest wealth of all is in giving it all away and serving him.

As the financial markets dip and twirl on the roller coaster of doubts and fears and perceptions, as people watch their life savings dwindle, will we learn our lesson? (Can you hear God laughing?)

One of the great secrets of wealth is giving it away – ask Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, or Bill Gates. They have made fortunes, walked away and given abundantly of their wealth to make the world a better place. God smiles on them. They learned the secret.

When you help the poor, you are blessed.

There is a story we tell volunteers about a little boy along the seashore. Thousands of starfish are stranded on the shore as the tide recedes and a man watches as the little boy picks up starfish and throws them out into the ocean, one at a time. After watching a while, he shouts at the boy “Give it up! There are so many starfish! You can’t save them all!” and the little boy, without pausing, shouts back “But I can save THIS one!”

I worked for a year with homeless families. As I worked with them, I found myself learning from their stories, and from their determination to make a better life for their children. Working with the homeless is like throwing starfish back into the sea. Some might make it and others won’t. There are dark days, days when you feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of those who need your help. By focusing on what you CAN do, you hope to make a difference, even in the life of just THIS family, or that child.

We need to ask ourselves, those of us who live in abundance, how can we receive this blessing, the blessing of working with and/or giving to the poor? Is there a food closet that needs your donations and your weekly volunteer effort? Is there a mosque or church that uses volunteers to serve a daily meal to the poorest of the poor? Is there a sandwich delivery to the street poor? Is the Salvation Army active in your area? Are there decent clothes in your closet which you have outgrown? Are there pillows or blankets you could donate to Operation Hope Kuwait? How can you serve the poor? How can you receive this blessing?

Donations of your time, your energy, your vision will not only be a small contribution towards improving the world one small act at a time, it will also lessen the soul-deadening impact of poverty, it will be a blessing to YOU. Working together, people can make a difference. You can make a difference in the life of the poor. You can make a difference, by serving, in your own life.

October 15, 2008 Posted by | Charity, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual | | 10 Comments