My soul is restless.
I struggle with being in this world, but not of it.
I want to not be tied down to stuff and things.
But it’s not easy.
I love pretty things.
I love to create things.
I love to have things.
But in my heart, I know there’s more hiding in less.
Recently in my Facebook feed, I saw the picture of a young Ethiopian boy.
Thirteen years old.
Raising a family.
Not his whole family, mind you.
Just the boy and his 4 younger siblings.
No mother, no father.
And he wants to be a doctor.
Oh, how that makes my heart ache.
In so, so many ways.
(For the good and the bad.
Because there is always both.)
Directly beneath the post of Jabril and his siblings, there is another link.
This one for the pre-sale of Christmas pajamas.
$25 (plus shipping) for one pair of pajamas.
And it just hit me hard.
Like knock-the-wind-out-of-you hard.
Here is this boy, this little boy.
Living in a mud house with dirt floors.
And we are spending $30 on pajamas.
I myself just spent $90 on a bag.
It’s a nice bag and not just any bag.
And it has a purpose.
And I got a really, really good deal on it.
And it is one of those classic items that will last a long time.
But ultimately it is still a bag.
See how easy it was for me to justify spending nearly a hundred dollars?
I am tied to things.
And I’m guessing you may be, too.
But I am realizing the thing I (should) want most is for something to change.
Something within me, something within you.
I’m not suggesting we all sell everything we have.
I’m not planning on getting rid of my car or not buying birthday presents for the children.
I don’t even know what I really am suggesting.
I just know that my heart is heavy.
My heart is heavy for the thousands of Jabrils across the world.
For the single fathers in Detroit.
And the fatherless and motherless in Ethiopia.
For the grandparents in Texas raising their children’s children.
And the little girls in China, waiting to be wanted, to be loved.
I feel the ache in my in-most being, where words can’t be found.
And yet even with that, my heart soars for these same people, with them.
Because in them I see hope, joy, dreams.
They don’t have a lot of things but they certainly have something.
I struggle to find words to go with my thoughts.
I want to support others without being condescending or falling into the savior syndrome trap.
I want to be encouraging and generous.
I want to be kind and giving and helpful.
And I want to teach my children to give and love and help.
But it’s hard.
Especially when I want to go out to eat again.
Or when I really, really want a new dress.
Or when I ‘need’ new shoes.
Where’s the line?
The one between stuff and simplicity?
How much want is too much?
How many things are too many?
I still believe that there’s nothing wrong with having nice things –
As long as there is a balance between keeping and giving.
Now if I could just find that balance, that’d be great.
For $30 per child, you can have picture perfect pjs on Christmas morning.
Or you could help another child to grow, to learn, to prosper.
For $28, give books to a Georgia child for a year via The Ferst Foundation.
For only $20 buy a gaggle of geese for a family in China through Heifer International.
Or give a child in Liberia the gift of education through the Balama Development Alliance.