So. Much. Stuff. It’s pouring out my ears! The revelation came at just the right time, too. Our household is on an increasingly tight budget, and I was beginning to lose focus of everything we have. Going through the ocean of stuff in my boys’ room alone, my focus has shifted.
We here in America are so incredibly blessed. The majority of us have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and clothes on our children. The roof might be rented,the food might be ramen, and the clothes might be hand-me-downs, but we have them, and they are good. Our government, regardless of personal opinion, does a lot for those with less. Our healthcare system, though flawed, is better than the majority of the world. We are so, so blessed.
Last night, my church held our Concert of Prayer, an event where the members of the church gather together to pray specifically over the summer’s activities: Bootcamp, our teen training for a version of VBS; Backyard Bible Clubs (said version of VBS); Summerfest, our street festival; and all of the various mission trips. For the foreign mission trips, I joined a group praying for the Dominican Republic. My heart has a special place for the D.R. after having gone on two mission trips myself there, and reminiscing during the prayer brought back all of those memories of true poverty.
I returned from that trip amazed at silly things like paved roads, carpet, and real walls. These beautiful people had houses built out of rusted-through sheet metal. newspaper for wall paper, and rivers of sewage whenever it rained (so daily). The kids who did have clothes had worn, dirty clothes that were obviously American. (Old Navy’s U.S.A. shirts are probably not sold over there…) At one village, the missionaries’ meal of a small bread bun, a boiled egg, and a cup of milk was their meal for the day. At an orphanage, they sacrificed one of their chickens to make us the most amazing stew, and none of us realized the magnitude of it until later.I came home loathe to buy a coffee. That was a child’s meals for a month over there…
I came home. I readjusted. I forgot. 8 years later, I’m lamenting the hot dog and fast food diet of my kids, the lack of bigger vehicle for me, and that #3’s cheaper diapers don’t hold his poo. I’ve completely missed the point. #firstworld problems, am I right?
The kicker, though, is that we don’t have to go to a different country to find such desperate poverty. Homelessness is endemic. Every city struggles with it. The number of natural disasters that rip through our communities can leave behind a similar setting. And yet, I have all of this stuff I won’t do anything with except complain about.
This week, I’ll be donating anything and everything to SafePlace, an organization here in central Texas that “Provides Safety for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence[, h]elps victims in their Healing so they can move beyond being defined by the crimes committed against them, and become Survivors[; p]romotes safe and healthy relationships for the Prevention of sexual and domestic violence[; and w]orks with others to create Change in attitudes, behaviors and policies that perpetuate the acceptance of, and impact our understanding and responses to, sexual and domestic violence.” The donations they receive help families with basic possessions and household items, and helps get them up on their feet. While I love donating to places like Salvation Army and Goodwill, I love the idea of having a tangible, direct impact on my community.
So this week, I challenge you to join me. What do you not need anymore? What stuff could you give?