Shaun has dealt with this same issue in his music– wanting to make a difference with his words. And I think in his latest CD Third World Symphony he has done exactly that. It’s been played at my house at least 5 times a week since I’ve gotten it.
One of the things that was hardest for me about coming home after the trip was assimilating the memory all those real faces — those real struggling people — into my everyday life. It made me really rethink where our resources go.
Frankly, it’s an ongoing seesaw: seeing need, wanting to help, taking a step to do something. Then there is a slide back to complacency and comfort. Almost a forgetting. Granted, by many people’s standards, we have contributed to solutions through the adoption of our children, and through the sponsorship of others. But when I’m being searingly honest about our life, there is more that we could do.
I asked Shaun how he wrestled with this issue. Here’s what he wrote:
“I battle the Schindler syndrome, yes – struggling with not doing all that could be done, looking at even the smallest comfort in my house and wondering how many more could be saved if I did without it. How austere, how simple, how generous am I to be?“We sold our dream house and moved into one much smaller but many third world homes could fit inside its walls. We support a local food pantry and homeless mission with time and money but we still throw out leftovers and expired groceries. We sponsor three children and one college student through Compassion International but when I’m losing my battle with addiction we could sponsor a couple more with what I spend on morning soft drinks. We’ve adopted recently but we have space and love for many more.“I wish God gave us a program, some rules to follow when it comes to simplicity and generosity. To keep us from the extremes of gluttony and asceticism. But instead of a program God gave us a Person: Jesus. And all I know to do, Mary, is to spend time with Him, in real intimate relationship with Him and other Christians who know the details of my life – regularly, constantly. And in that relationship to do much more listening and pleading for direction than I do talking. To prepare more than I plan. To create margins, leftover time and money and energy, so that I’m free and ready to give or go as He leads me.“A wise mutual friend of ours, Brian Seay, taught me that God’s will for my life will often be found at the intersection of someone’s need and my ability. I stood in an Ethiopian orphanage looking into orphan eyes and found God’s leading there. I have an ability that matches their need. I had a neighbor who had a medical need but couldn’t afford to get treatment and I had extra in the bank that month – God was telling us something wasn’t He? And on and on we go, with hands and eyes open, looking and listening for the intersection of our ability and the needs of others.”~~~~~~