Friday, June 1, 2012

I grumble while she gives thanks

I read Kisses from Katie a couple weeks ago. It’s a book written by 22-year-old Katie Davis who daily cares for the 13 children she is in the process of adopting while also caring for hundreds of others that the Lord brings her way. Her story is powerful. It’s life-changing. It’s convicting. It challenges me as a woman of faith, a mother and an American. You can read Katie’s blog here.

A few months ago, prior to reading her book, I watched a video featuring Katie (her stories are a small snippet of what’s in her book). You can watch the video here.

On her blog and in her video she talks about children like the sweet boy below who are on the brink of death from diseases like tuberculosis and severe malnutrition. These are before and after pictures of a little boy she is nursing back to health: 

Seeing images like this, and reading countless stories of selfless love and sacrifice brought me face to face with myself. And I didn't like what I saw. I was so convicted of my selfishness and ingratitude that I penned the following:

I grumble while she gives thanks

A mama in America:
It’s 6:35 a.m. and I hear my son on the monitor. My bed is warm, my pillow soft and I stayed up later than I needed to reading on my Nook. I grumble, roll over and try to sleep a few more winks.

It’s 7:15 a.m. and I’m feeding my son breakfast. He chooses his favorite cereal from a number of boxes on the counter and I go to work in the kitchen making scrambled eggs. I grumble because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I dislike unloading. I am not a morning person.

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’m getting my daughter dressed. I can’t find a matching top and have to look through piles to find what I’m looking for. I grumble because there are clothes everywhere – clean clothes, dirty clothes, clothes to be put away, and dress up clothes.

It’s 9:45 a.m. and we are at the doctor for our well-check visits. I ask the doctor my long list of questions about sleep and picky eaters and growth percentiles. I grumble because the kids are fighting about the same toy and distracting me from my conversation with the doctor.

It’s 10:30 a.m. and we head to Costco. We shop for everything on my long list and eat samples while we shop. We fill our cart with essential items and a couple new things to try out. The shelves in the warehouse are piled floor to ceiling with food, household items, toys and clothing. I grumble because I bought too many things and spent too much money.

It’s 12 p.m. and I’m feeding the kids lunch. Their tummies are full with healthy, nutritious food that they ate to their heart's content. I grumble because there are crumbs on the floor, spills on the table and smudges on their shirts.

It’s 3:20 p.m. and my daughter is awake singing in her warm, cozy crib. She slept for two hours surrounded by endless blankets and dolls and teddy bears and nuks. I grumble because I didn’t finish my to-do list during naptime and dinner isn’t yet started.

It’s 4 p.m. and I take the kids outside to play in the snow. They love the winter wonderland that is our outdoors. I dress them in warm boots, thick winter coats, hats, mittens. Their cheeks are red from laughing and playing and running. I grumble because it’s cold outside and we are all wet. 

It’s 6 p.m. and my husband comes home. His dress suit is wrinkled after a long day of work. He works so hard and provides endlessly for his family. I grumble because he came home late and didn’t call to let me know. 

It’s 7 p.m. and I’m giving the kids a bath. They splash around in the clean, clear water that runs freely from the spout. They laugh hysterically during ‘bubble races.’ I grumble because they splash water all over the bathroom floor and I have to wipe it up.

It’s 8:15 p.m. and I’m putting the kids to bed. They choose 3 books from shelf after shelf of reading material. They are clean. They are happy and full of life. They snuggle close with their blankets and we read, sing and pray. I put them to sleep and grumble because I am tired and it was a busy, exhausting day.

A mom in a small village far from America:

It’s 5:30 a.m. and she gets up from her mat on the dirt floor. The heavy, humid air is just the beginning of another excruciatingly hot day. Her body aches, her eyes are sunken and years of sunlight have aged her far beyond her years. The stress and worry of food and health weigh heavy on her mind. She gives thanks to God for another day to live and breathe.

It’s 7:00 a.m. and she feeds her son a small bowl of rice. She walks outside and lights a fire to begin the day’s preparations. She gives thanks to God for dry wood and fire, which is her lifeline.

It’s 7:30 a.m. and she’s tries to find fresh clothes for her daughter. She finds a shirt that is worn with holes, but is fairly clean. It’s a little small, but it fits because her daughter is severely underweight. There are no shoes for her daughter’s tender feet, yet she gives thanks to God for clothing.

It’s 9:30 a.m. and she holds her son while his body racks with cough. His eyes are bleak and there are sores covering his skin. There is no money for medicine, and even if there were, the closest doctor is two villages away – at least a full day’s walk. She gives thanks to God for another day with her son.

It’s 12 p.m. and she continues to work around her home while her children quietly play. Their eyes are lifeless. Their bellies swollen from malnutrition. There is only one piece of bread and a tiny bit of rice to share for lunch. She breaks the bread into small pieces and gives thanks to God.

It’s 3:20 p.m. and her daughter wakes from a short, restless nap in the shade outside their home. She swats away flies and cries out for something to drink. Her mama gives her a little sip rationing their drinking water so there is enough for everyone.

It’s 4 p.m. and she walks with her children to pay their electrical bill. They have one light bulb in their small home and sometimes they use a fan for the excruciatingly hot nights. She thanks God for his provision.

It’s 6 p.m. and her husband comes home. He's weary. His hands are blistered from a hard day of working in the fields. The change in his pocket signifies what he made from his 12-hour work day. He will use the money to buy food, desperate to feed his family. She gives thanks to God that her husband returned home, when so many never do.

It’s 7 p.m. and she walks more than a mile to the local well to get water for drinking and bathing. They ran out of soap months ago, but she gives thanks to God for clean water to bathe her children and wash their clothes.

It’s 8:30 p.m. and she puts her children to bed on a single mat under a dirty blanket. She gently kisses their cheeks and softly sings them to sleep. She prays over them asking God to breathe life into their weak, sick bodies. She prays for medicine and medical care she cannot afford. And she gives thanks to God for another day.

1 comment:

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Sobering. Beautiful. True. Thank you!