Monday, March 22, 2010

Opening my eyes, heart & hands

Today I cleaned house, washed 3 loads of laundry, went to the grocery store, and worked on some devotions for Proverbs 31. In the process of all that I used Clorox cleaning wipes, my high capacity front load washer, an automatic dishwasher, a vacuum, a debit card and a laptop.

The grocery store took longer than I expected. I scanned about a dozen aisles worth of foods deciding if I felt like Italian food, a Mexican dinner, or grilling out tonight. I decided on Italian. Spaghetti with a marina meat sauce, a tossed green salad, and Semolina bread. I also picked up some organic eggs and milk for tomorrow's breakfast. Plus apples and granola bars for the kids' snacks. I loaded it all into the back of my car and drove home listening to smooth jazz on XM radio.

Returning home I unpacked the groceries, made a phone call to my husband about a writer's retreat I'm hoping to go on, and then sat down to my computer to work some more. Not once today had I thought about all the luxuries in my life. All the things I take as "necessities" that so many in the world are without. Things like freedom, safety, work with a regular paycheck. Access to uncontaminated drinking water. Running water in my home and a tank to heat it up for relaxing showers. Access to such a great variety of foods. Machines to take me places, machines to do much of my work for me, and machines to play music that soothes my psyche whenever I care to hear it.

Logging onto my laptop again, I saw an email alerting me I'd been tagged in a Facebook photo. I followed the link to discover ...

P31 staff has been posting pictures from our trip to Ecuador with Compassion International. When I followed the link ( a picture with an important memory opened up.

It was me with the very first child I met in Ecuador. After a bumpy bus ride to a community of Quito's poor, perched on the side of the mountain overlooking the city, I climbed out at the Compassion project building. This little boy handed me a red rose, took my other hand, and lead me into the building. He was being brave out there, for once he got inside he took his seat beside me and turned shy. In my best (broken) Spanish I tried to talk with him. Hi, my name is Raquel. I've come all the way from the United States to see you. Can you tell me your name? ...

He gave me short, shy answers. I gave him my biggest smiles. Then the planned program began and by the time we were into the second song, he'd climbed up on my lap - pressing his wind-burned cheeks against my chest. Most the kids around us were clapping, singing, or dancing in place. He preferred to sit right there, still, next to my heart. When the program was over he got up and followed the other children outside to play. I didn't see him again after that day, yet he never did fully remove himself from his spot close to my heart.

Thanks God, for yanking my eyes open today to the blessings I have, and for reminding me to share them with those who have no machines to do their work, no aisles of foods to choose from, and no music to hum along to ... but the sound of God singing affectionately and protectively over them.
Help me to remember this:

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." ~ James 1:27


  1. Such a great reminder. Thank you for the many words you write!

  2. I was thinking the same thing today. At first I was complaining about how uneventful my Mondays are...but found myself thanking God. That I can do laundry, clean and relax in the air conditioned house. There is so much to be grateful about!

  3. So true - it is so easy for us to get caught up in complaining about leaky water heaters, leaking showers, dishwashers and microwaves that need to be replaced when there are so many in the world that don't even have a roof over their heads or water to drink. Thanks for the reminder of how blessed we are and a renewed awareness to move out of our comfort to help those less fortunate.

  4. Thanks Rachel for a great reminder of our blessings and to whom all of it is possible.

  5. We are truly a blessed people.


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