Did you ever wonder if you are crazy because your mind is exploding? Ok, me neither, but I have been obsessed this last couple weeks (just ask my poor husband).
While exploring ways to heal extreme poverty, I have been looking at what it might look like to live on about a dollar a day. And I cannot.
I cannot drive my car to work since the gallon of gas it would take me is $3.48. I cannot ride the bus either because one way is 2.15. I could not take my medicine because the total is 0.83 & I would still like to eat if possible, but at least flush my toilet once in a while (and that includes buying the 1.6 gallons of water that each flush takes and the daily fee of 0.80 for sewage). I haven't added in light bulbs or electricity (fridge) or heat (getting cold) or food (shopping for the old stuff at Amelia's will still add up).
So, I decided that I really cannot LIVE on a dollar a day. I could sit on my sofa, sipping water that I got from a creek down the hill, and peeing in the backyard, maybe. But the bigger thing, the thing that breaks my heart is that there are millions of people who are not living but existing on that $1 a day. I wish that I could do something important to make a difference. While eradicating poverty altogether would be terrific, I would just like to eradicate extreme poverty.
It brings me back to a long ago discussion. How do we affect the hearts of others?
How do we effectively, that is to affect someone, share the message of Jesus? In this very fun but very challenging, post-modern, it's-ok-for-you, sort of time? How is Jesus to become relevant to someone (and this has nothing to do with style)? Why is Jesus more difficult to be taken seriously than the 12 steps or Buddha or Islam? Is it just us weird followers? Is it the political religious right wing?
I think those things are more of an excuse. Perhaps that is because I think God so tenaciously pursues us.
In the field that I work in, it is important to come to the end of yourself, to have that gift of desperation. Without it, well, one isn't going to try any new ideas, let alone stay in treatment. When I still think that I can manage things, I will try. Pretty basic human nature stuff, I suppose.
It is only when our reserves, our last ditch attempt, our go to escape clause is depleted...when the money runs out, when the marriage is dying, when the body fails, when the bills drown us, when the sex is empty, when the drink/drug/smoke don't work anymore, that we begin to wonder-is there another way.
With the gift of desperation, God finds us more willing to consider, more open to His reality. That gift could be having made pathetic choices and winding up in a mess, or it could be just seeing your heart for the tangled knot of sin that it is. You can't buy it or force it on someone. Something intangible just seems to happen. Maybe the Holy Spirit?
I don't think being poor is more spiritual, by any means. As I said before, I grew up poor (though we loved the government cheese!!!), and it was full of moments of insecurity and humiliation (and that was as a child). But, I wonder if having less, having to rely on God for your daily bread very literally, doesn't have spiritual advantages. The average American, who doesn't have a relationship with God, doesn't seem to know where God would fit in their life or WHY they should try to figure that out. And some of them are people that I love dearly.
This breaks my heart, as much as those in extreme poverty, and I feel as inadequate to affect change with them as I do with that poverty.
Father, this sucks, being small and helpless, watching the physical and spiritual suffering of others. I want to heal and love and bring them to Your table. I want to drag and cajole and guilt. But You never did that for me. :) I am not special. I want you to get them, too! Use me if you can, kick me to the sidelines if you can't, but please, I know You love them so help me to be patient, to wait on You, to love them as You do. Sometimes I forget that You want to handle things and I struggle to try to do something myself, and it is so good when I remember! You do a better job at everything than I do!!! :)