Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So our choices add up.
Habits into hours.
Decisions into days.
Lists into a life.

--Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

He shook his head, adamately denying the accusation.

Shirt wet, salty water leaking from pores. Heavy breaths, body struggling against the extra weight.

Ridiculous, I thought.

He was a large, proud man; just a sliver of apprehension between the lines of his bold verbal paragraphs.

“I don’t eat junk,” exasperated.

I sensed his offense at my questioning.

“Mr. Hepp, your blood pressure is still elevated. Your three meds are at their maximum doses. And its been five months.”

I probably should have been more sympathetic.

“Yeah?...and I’m still trying.”

Doubt overwhelmed me.

Really Mr. Hepp? Really? You are still trying?

Judgement shot from my viewpoint.

“Well, let’s talk about what you are trying. We’d really like to see more progress—we are concerned about your health! Both now & long-term. We’ve talked about the consequences of your condition...”

Saccade eye movements disappeared. I’d lost his attention at “let’s talk about it.”

“I really have been trying, you know…”

I bet you have!...

“I cut out the bacon with my biscuits & gravy each morning at Carl’s Jr. And I don’t order fries anymore with my McDonald’s hamburger at lunch. And at least once a week the wife makes me eat a salad, usually at Applebee’s where we eat dinner every night.”

Ridiculous, I thought.
randoms 037

It would have been easier to ignore him…the excess he had. The thousands of extra calories he was consuming each day, the money he’d spent on having his meals prepared, served, & cleaned up for him.

‘Talking about it’ felt like a waste of breath.

To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion- what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.

I could picture them, boney limbs & burgeoning bellies filled with parasites. Forever etched in my mind were their eyes, their dirty faces, their fallen homes. The empty bowls. The matchstick arms.
world vision 2

Ridiculous, I thought.

It would have been easier to ignore them…the poverty they lived in, the dirty & smelly & lonely they felt. The deficit of calories that caused autodestruction of their internal organs. The dried-up wells & trips to the contaminated river each day for water. The hopelessness & lack of opportunity that promised the same life to their great-grandchildren.
world vision 1

“One out of four children in developing countries is underweight, & some 350 to 400 million children are hungry. Worse, it is estimated that a child dies every five seconds from hunger-related causes.” Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel

I stepped out of the shower & brushed the steam from my face. It was just what I wanted after a long day on my feet. I’d stepped into the steamy stream of water…& emerged 15 minutes later, the days stressors washed down the drain.
shower feet

“As many as five million people die every year of water-related illness. This creates a no-win situation for millions of parents in our world today—they can watch helplessly as their children die for lack of water, or they can watch them die from diarrhea, because the only water they have is tainted.” –Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel

It would have been easier to ignore that I’d just wasted 21 gallons of water—more than twice the number a person in Africa uses per day. It would have been easier to brush off the contaminants like I’d brushed off the steam. I wanted my steamy solitude.

I can ignore him.

I can ignore them.

But I can’t ignore myself.

When I wiped a small circle from the mirror, I saw her.
I saw him.
I saw them.

I saw the wastefulness.
I saw the excess.
I saw the need.

And I was faced with a decision.

candle in mirror 1

****Change starts in the mirror.****

Defend the cause of the weak & fatherless;
Maintain the rights of the poor & oppressed.
Rescue the weak & needy;
Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

-Psalm 82:3-4

“We can be a generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies—but will we be that generation? Will we in the West realize our potential or will we sleep in the comfort of our affluence with apathy & indifference murmuring softly in our ears? Fifteen thousand people dying needlessly every day from AIDS, TB, & malaria. Mothers, fathers, teachers, farmers, nurses, mechanics, children. This is Africa’s criss. That it’s not on the night news, that we do not treat this as an emergency—that’s our crisis.
Future generations flipping through these pages will know whether we answered the key question. The evidence will be the world around them. History will be our judge, but what’s written is up to us. We can’t say our generation didn’t know how to do it. We can’t say our generation couldn’t afford it. And we can’t say our generation didn’t have reason to do it. It’s up to us.”


joyfuliving said...

amen sister.

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ASH said...

Thank you for saying what I've been thinking! Every time I take a bite of something that has, shall I say, less than advantageous content, I wonder what in the heck I am doing. Not because I'm concerned about my health (there's always that), but because God convicts me of THEIRS. How can I spend money on junk when they are starving? Imagine if we took all the money here spent on excess food and used it to buy them just one meal a day.

Would you mind if I linked to this post?

P.S. I just found your blog tonight and have wasted copious amounts of time reading and being inspired/challenged/encouraged/humored/... thanks!

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