“If you are here to help me, then you are wasting your time. But if you come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us begin.”
Lily Walker , an Australian aboriginal woman.
A counter is all that separates us. Yet is seems like a vast chasm at times. I look in his eyes and to my surprise, see myself. What’s your story? How did you end up on that side of the counter, and me on this one? What really separates us? My instinctive answer is: nothing. We are the same, you and I. We have both hungered. We have both been lonely. We have both felt hopeless at times. We are both here. I have a responsibility to you, and you have one to me. Knowing your pain, how can I do nothing to help you?
These are the thoughts that ran through my head as I served food at the soup kitchen this morning. My “motto” for life until recently has been: To whom much is given, much is expected. This way of thinking is slowly being converted though. Now I see that, to whom much knowledge is given, much is expected. If you know about an injustice, know about a neighbor’s problem, you have a responsibility to do something about it. And if you don’t have the resources to do something about it, share your knowledge with someone who does. Someone told me recently that the solution to ending poverty is to education the rich. For many people, it is ignorance that stops them from helping others, not a lack of willingness to help.
So my goal, especially during my trip to Tanzania, is to gain knowledge so that I can accomplish all that is expected from me by the one who taught me how to serve by serving Himself.
I found out yesterday that I’ve officially been approved to go to Tanzania by the mission I’ll be working with. Even now, I’m not quite sure if this is really happening or if I’ll wake up from this wonderful dream tomorrow morning. After discussing buying a plane ticket, getting a visa and calling a travel clinic about shots, I felt every emotion known to human kind. I was literally shaking with nervous apprehension and yet I had the deepest conviction that I am absolutely doing exactly what God is calling me to. That conviction has been shattered almost daily though, by self-doubt and fear. One of my biggest worries is that I won’t be able to handle the poverty and problems that I am going to experience. Sometimes I wonder if I am too empathetic, too compassionate. Just hearing about starving children, or seeing pictures of them has the power to send me into depression for days. I have the bad habit of making their problems personal and thinking that I have to solve all of these problems myself. When I fall into this way of thinking I just remember that since God is calling me to go to Tanzania he will equip me with whatever I need to do his work. One of my favorite quotes is: “God does not called the equipped, he equips the called”. Mother Teresa also has something witty to say on the subject: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” In fact I’ve been looking to the words of Mother Teresa lately to help me through this and help me realize that whatever I can do, no matter how small the difference, is all that God wants from me. She has so much to say about this subject!
In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.
I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Jesus said love one another. He didn’t say love the whole world.