I watched as your little faces crumpled. Saw the lines of Overwhelming begin to etch themselves on the place where your perfect nose wrinkles. You listened, as it was my voice, the one you’ve always heard- first from the inside, warm and muffled, reverberating from my chest down to where you were- then on the outside. I said, every hour in this world, our world, 300 children die of starvation. 300. It is 12:40 now, and by 1:40, 300 more children will be gone.
You looked stunned. And I did not know it was possible to speak that kind of truth, without choking on the gravel harshness of those words. We sat in silence for a moment. At that point, the strength is stripped from words.
So, I asked, what are we going to do about it? This is our problem, and we have a responsibility to fix it.
Transfixed, I bore witness, as the little bit of light that had left their eyes, was replaced by a torch of righteous fire. We can do something, we can. We can do anything, except sit idle. Then a torrent of ideas and words, flowed like a tsunami, into the tide pool of our living room. Voices raised and receded, innocence crested, white caps of belief frothed and spilled soapy, over the conversation, as if to clean it.
We came up with a plan. Or the start of one. Found ways to cut some of our excess spending, in order to give that money where it belongs. To take it out of our selfish hands, and place it in far emptier ones. We huddled together, my team and I, safe and well fed, in our living room. We remembered again, to put on our glasses of gratitude. That the only way of seeing this life clearly, is through the bifocals of action and thankfulness as a verb.
They got out their Language Arts journals then, and began to write a week’s worth of diary entries, as if the famine were happening to them. I didn’t want to read it when they were done. Didn’t want to see those things written in the penmanship that I love. It is painfully obvious that no parent does.
And yet, they do. They watch with eyes, filled with the same intense love, as flies buzz, and bellies swell from all of the nothing to eat. As tears, cannot fall or form, because there is not water enough left in the body. There are places on this planet where crying is a luxury.
This place, is the place we have stumbled upon. We, who are safely situated, in the land of milk and honey. We are learning about ecosystems and lifecycles, our dependence upon water, and on each other.
I wanted my children to know the difference, between receiving their education and claiming it. I wanted them to make it their own, to take ownership, and play an active role. Now I find myself, only 3 1/2 months in, heart sore, and dirty from this road we are blazing. I am the one who is finally learning. I am one of six, understanding, and growing.
THIS is the way I am meant to be leading. Mud-caked and hands calloused from the tug-of-war of changing. This, stripping of selfishness, this molting of ME. Like a snake, shedding, as they continue on their way. Let my pathways be littered with the ecdysis of vanity.
They wake. My children stumble, bleary and sleep filled, into my room. Outside, the dew clings heavy to grass, making it bend as only new mercies can. We move. This is a day that calls for action.