Confession: Life is not fair.
People say this a lot to children, the littles with the big expectations. I remember having it said to me, and I hated it. I thought then and I think now that it’s a poor excuse for leaving things the way they are.
1 John 3:17 “If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love?”
No, I do not think that life is fair. But shouldn’t we try to make it as fair as we can?
I have an unfinished story to tell:
On June 1st, 2012, I went into Fashion Bug with a wonderful coupon-about-to-expire: $10 off any purchase of $20 or more.
I rarely buy new clothes, except fabric to sew into dresses. I like frequenting secondhand stores. Jesus has been so tender about meeting the needs of my family in this way. Yet armed with my coupon, next thing to cash, I thought But of course! This means getting a $20 sweater for $10. I will go see what I can find.
I had one of those wonderful hours of shopping in which the stars are right, the styles are right, the colors are right, the prices are right. Aarick and I pranced around finding me some treasures. A lovely little white sweater. A soft oversized gray one. A black top, and a white vest. And a flamboyant salmon shirt, with embroidery. I fell in love, and I carefully selected these five out of a hundred and bought them all.
Confession: (this is harder to admit than I thought it would be) I spent fifty dollars in Fashion Bug.
A rare, exhilarating, slightly-guilty splurge.
A friend of mine used to say, “It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how much you save.” And I saved upwards of $40.
I came home and hung up my purchases and went online to check the news.
This is what I saw, while the bottom dropped out of the world.
Source credit: fotojournalismus
Photo credit: Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Reuters
This is not a random picture from musty archives. Three days before my splurge, this Littlest lay in distress. Global suffering is stretched around his ribcage, but global suffering means nothing to him. He is just a child in Yemen, and everything hurts. Where is he now? Did he live? I cannot get him out of my mind.
What does this mean? What does it change?
I know it is about far more than what I did on June 1st at Fashion Bug. It’s about my lifestyle, and the only thing that comes to mind is filthy rich. But somehow it doesn’t feel alright to give a little money, painlessly, soothe the conscience and go on enjoying my wealthy treasures. I cannot get him out of my mind. Those clothes scream accusations at me now, especially one flamboyant salmon top with embroidery… they scream filthy rich!
Am I brave enough to undo that splurging action, to return the clothes I loved and chose so that a boy in Yemen can have food?
I feel compassion and powerlessness all mixed. I can donate till I’m blue (and I hope to) but I cannot save that child. And I cannot change Yemen, a country torn.
Who am I to be talking about fair? This rich white American woman with enough clothes to layer for effect, for heaven’s sake; and food in her freezer and ten acres of paradise and a huge house and healthy children and all the people I love safe and well—comfort and security and warmth and books and beauty, peace all around me.
No, I do not think that life is fair–but shouldn’t we make it as fair as we can?