Tonight I was thinking about what to cook for dinner and it occurred to me what a fortunate person I am. When large numbers of people around the world are hungry, I’m deciding which of the things in my cupboard – refrigerator – garden to prepare. I have fresh, clean running water just steps away. I have a cooking stove right in front of me.
It’s so easy to take these things for granted because they are part of our normal. But, I’ve been with people in various places in the world for whom these are unimaginable luxuries. They have never been faced with deciding what to eat, only figuring out how to eat. Yet they will generously share what little they have.
Most of us lead lives of astounding privilege and we don’t even recognize it. I periodically try to step outside my everyday reality and see it from the perspective of someone who’s daily life is very different.
By the same token, there are people who would pity me my life, because theirs is filled with luxuries beyond my imagination. But there is a difference between true luxuries, and basic necessities being out of reach.
One of the basic tenants of all the world’s major religions is to take care of the poor, and yet few faiths take that really seriously. Of course, there are the Mother Teresas of the world, but part of the reason they’re so noteworthy is that they’re rare.
How does a person who wants to affect real change in the world do that today? One of my choices is Kiva.org, a mico-finance site. I also admire the Habitat for Humanity model.
Meanwhile, I remember to take a moment now and then to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings I enjoy every day, and a prayer of entreatment that all people might be faced with a choice of bounty when considering dinner.
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