Friday, February 15, 2008

Poverty of a Different Sort

Painters are here repainting many of the rooms in our house as we get ready to put it on the market in a couple weeks. In anticipation of their arrival, I dug a myriad of toys out from under my 6-year old's bed. Baskets and wooden crates of toys overflowed onto the floor, their contents including small armies of toy soldiers and enough trucks to host his own miniature Monster Truck Rally. The excess of it all crossed my mind but didn't really have that big an impact on me until I read a fellow blogger's post from his time in Uganda with Compassion International.

That's when it hit me.

D. has so many toys, I am sure that he has forgotten he even has many of them. And, trust me, he doesn't have even a fraction of what some of his friends have. I have been in play rooms where the abundance of toys, games and gadgets is so great, one has to clear a path by wading through the sea of items strown about the room. Believe me, my child has PLENTY.

Then I read this.

It hit me like a brick between the eyes. We are suffering from our own form of poverty. We may have many things but do these things distract us from forming a true appreciation of and relationship with God? I can attest that many of the THINGS in my life are a barrier to my dependance on Him. I'm connected in every way a person can be. Internet, email, fax, cell phone and, yes, this blog...all ways of keeping in touch with family and friends. And, I could argue that the internet has opened my eyes to issues that rekindle my desire to be close to Him (like the story above). But do any of those enrich my dependance on God? No.

Like the blogger above, I do not wish poverty on my child. But, I do think that the simple pleasure of a roughly-fashioned pull toy in the hands of that Ugandan child is an image I'm not likely to forget.

I may not be materially impoverished...but I do think I am at least a little spiritually dehydrated. I want to depend on God for my needs.

And, you know what? He wants that, too.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing this to light.
I have to say that the wealthiest people I've ever had the honor and privilege to meet were residents of several dumps in Mexico City. They have true wealth--of spirit, heart, determination, gratefulness, and generosity--to which I aspire. The impact of their wealth, and our poverty, changed my life...which I am determined to live back in service to others as my thank you letter to those lovely, truly rich, residents of Mexico City's dumps.
Thank you again for sharing this with us today!

Cindy said...

Such great, challenging thoughts. Wish we could sit and talk over tea and dissect stuff like this.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

This is something I need to tell myself every year. Every year it seems like the toys and "stuff" overtake our home and then I read something like this and am reminded that less leaves room for more... more of the really important things in life, that is. Thank you for the new spin on some old wisdom.