The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fifteen Days Left

When I think of where I'll be or what I'll be doing in fifteen days I think, wow that's a ways off. But then I realize that dreams could be, becoming reality in fifteen days. I could be with our daughter.

Regardless, two weeks and a day can feel a ways off.

Unless you think of the fact that there are only fifteen days remaining for you (for us!) to donate to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund. Okay, that's not entirely true. You can donate until you're blue in the face. But if you do it within the above mentioned time frame the Canadian Government will match your donation - dollar for dollar.

That's double your money.

Two. Times. The. Resources.

And excuse me if I seem a little crass - perhaps I am stating the's been a really really long day.

But then I pause and think about it. I mean, I really dig down in the memory bank and the "poor me" well, and realize my day was blessed. And I'll bet regardless how you think yours went, it wasn't all that bad either.

Today, I was repeatedly, unknowingly, ungratefully blessed. Between all the running around...the frustration with - ah hem - our two small blond gifts (one of whom used permanent marker on the off-white duvet cover), between the hours of (at given moments seemingly tedious yet financially rewarding) work, between the sweat inducing run, between the bank trip (meaning yet) another drive to town, between the bathing of said blondies, and between the blackberry picking in the early hours of the morning; I felt spent by the time I hopped in the shower to rid myself of the sweat from said stress-relieving run.

It was a long day.

But it wasn't really a long day.

I had water to drink. Coffee. Food. A shower. I wore hole-less clothing, and one of my children had the luxury of changing his (muddy wet) clothes at one point into another set of hole-less clothes, and I earned some money, and my children ran and screamed.

They ran not because they were trying to get to perhaps a few remaining grains of food or a sip of (filthy?) water but rather because they were playing tag and chasing their friends. They were screaming because they had energy and naive joy emanating their beings.

They ran because, plain and simple, they had nothing else they had to do.

They didn't have to think about survival or foraging for siblings, grand-parents, parents or even themselves.

No, if we really sit down and think about it and take the "self-pity" hat off and shelve it for awhile we will all likely realize that no matter how crappy our day seemed, it truly was not.

While we were on our court trip in Ethiopia, our kids stayed with my parents. And when they returned home the eldest brought with him a fantastically annoying (and in my mind seemingly greedy - though it was not at all his intention) phrase...

"A dollar's better than nothing, Mama" he would tell me when the tooth fairy dropped a brass coin under his pillow. Or, "a quarter's better than nothing" he would reply when I gave him a quarter for a particular chore.

The phrase bothered me because it felt to me like he was ungrateful. In reality that was not why he said it but the undertone holds true now...

Your dollar is better than nothing.

Your gift no matter how great or little - it will be matched - and that is certainly better than nothing.

And it is so desperately needed.

These photos, I find them really excruciating to look at. I get the sickness-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling and I can't get them out of my mind. My eyes close and yet the bones, frailness and fragility, weakness, aching, hunger, pain, the vulnerability, innocence and disease...the inevitability of it all (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I can't get it out of my mind.

But perhaps that what we need...some reality we can't get out of, or off of our minds.

It is tragic and yet we, after a "hard and long day" can do maybe just a little bit to pitch in.


Sarah said...

Great post Ashleigh - this drought feels so much more personal for those of us adopting from Africa doesn't it? Thanks for your insightful words.

FTD said...

Always heart-filled posts, thank you :)
(Frank's work is also matching employees donations during this time - yay for triple!)