Thoughts on the Poor and Needy

my dining room table, a completely unstyled photo, after a day of school today.  this picture represents fabulous wealth...the well fed puppy on the chair, the laptop, the school books, the knitting that sits, casually waiting for the fact that I am so rich I have spare moments to do something creative...

I'm haunted by Ann Voskamp's observations, from her brief trip to Guatemala with Compassion International.  She visited families in the ghettos and slums of that country, a country still reeling from its recent mudslides.

Every day I sweep and cook and straighten with my steam mop and my all natural cleaners and my clean rags that match my kitchen, I'm thinking of a mother in Guatemala I have never met.  Vicariously I visited this mother, through Ann's blog, and the visit changed me.

Utterly impoverished mothers want clean homes, too.  They want all the same things I want, and they work harder than I do, with fewer tools, to accomplish far less.

And some can chalk it all up to an absence of capitalism, and still sleep at night, without doing one thing about the poverty they have seen on their big flat screen TV.

After her visit with this particular family, Ann felt compelled to tell the Guatemalan mother, "You are a good housekeeper", and upon translation, the mother began to weep.

And I've never gotten over it.

and these came in the mail this morning...God has a sense of irony, too.

How do you fight a mudslide?  How do you cherish all the home keeping hopes and dreams that all mothers have in a place that menaces your soul, day in and day out, with its filth and stench and poverty?  Somehow, this mother kept her shack as clean as she could keep it...noticeably different than the shacks that surrounded hers.

And she needed the same affirmation that I need...she needed to be told that her ordinary work did not go unnoticed.

So here I am, in my climate controlled home, blogging to the scent of spiced pumpkin and the music of Acker Bilk.  Feeling absolutely tiny.  My spirituality pales to that of a simple woman, fending off the mud, daily wiping the grime of the ghetto off of her home and her family.

I'm thankful for every blessing I've been given.

I spent some time early this morning getting to know this particular Tuesday, and it is an Acker Bilk sort of Tuesday.  Really.  It is.  See for yourself.

Given.  Given, given, given.  I have not earned a single thing.  This is what irks me about conservative talk much as I wholeheartedly agree with the conservative philosophy of hard work, and no government entitlement programs.  At one time, I took in a steady, almost daily diet of talk radio, and it made me arrogant and hard inside.  It made me intellectually bright, and proudly skeptical, complete with the strong suspicion that anyone who is poor deserves to be.  It is their own fault.  They haven't worked hard enough to earn the American Dream.

If we take this logic to its inevitable conclusion, then the last and the next heart-wrenching event in your life, Mr. Rush-Fan, is entirely your fault.

Because you deserve hell.  Cut and dried.  There is only One of whom it was declared, "I find no fault in Him" - all your hard work and good intentions mean not one thing....all your righteousness comes from Him, along with every blessing you have under God's sun.

Transitioning the foyer from summer to fall...this means getting the sheaves of Harvest Wheat back out.  I desperately want and need "Harvest" to be more than a time of year to me. 

I'm done with so-called Christianity that is so full of its own self righteousness, that it can't identify itself with the poor and needy.  Yeah, even when they deserve to be poor and needy.  But for the grace of God, there go I.

It is almost time again for cider and fires in the firepit, for S'mores and bonfires in the country with gobs of friends and soup and sweaters.  I am living a dreamy, fabulously wealthy life that I do not deserve.  Do you deserve the lifestyle you have earned for yourself, or do you enjoy the blessings you have been given?   

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