“I hungry,” she says, “I hungry.”
The Peanut repeats it at least four times a day. She climbs into her seat and has strong opinions about food. (Apparently, strong opinions are genetic.) Sometimes it takes some coaxing for her to go from “I don’t like that” to “Mmmm, delicious!” Not offering any other choices has worked so far so good. Also, adding a little cheese on top makes anything edible.
“Eat, eat, eat” the Rooster chants, patting her baby belly in anticipation. Lately, when you open the refrigerator the Rooster runs around the door to peer in, maybe take out a condiment or two. When she is tired she will even coax you into opening that magic cold box and pull out the milk all by herself. “Bah-ll, bah-ll, yeah, yeah.”
My kids love food. It is a running gag in our circle of friends. “That’s a Norman baby, if she’s crying, feed her.” There is no problem that can’t be soothed by a sandwich. No boo-boo a bowl of ice cream can’t fix.
I’ve been hungry for something lately, a hunger a sandwich can’t soothe. The groan is in my belly and I can feel it growing.
I heard an advertisement on the way to school, for a local news program set to run at 5 that very evening. Jovita Moore, live on my television, discussing the recent run on bullet proof backpacks.
Bullet. Proof. Back. Packs.
Apparently I live in a world where there is a market for such things, where seven-year-old’s bring their own shields to school and practice hiding from the bad guys between art class and story time. I sat in my car weeping, broken for a broken world.
I cried, also, for my own brokenness, for the reality of my own heart. It took American kids, an American tragedy, a run on bullet proof back packs by and for Americans for me to weep for this world. I wonder if these school-kid-sized horrors haven’t been hocked in Israel and Palestine for years. I wonder what an Afghan mother would do to get her hands on one of these atrocities.
I wonder if this world is indeed redeemable, and why God trusted it to us in the first place?
This hunger in my belly, I think I am groaning for hope, for redemption. Thy kingdom come, they will be done, the longing in those words spoken in unison is finally wrapping itself around my heart. I want to feel the hope, to breathe the redemption, to participate in the kingdom coming.
SheLoves magazine is giving me that chance, us that chance. They are building a well for Valentine’s day, a SheLoves Well. You can read the entire article here, and I would encourage you to do so, but this is the part , when Kelley Nikondeha writes of the people she is working with, that spoke to me deeply.
“The Batwa people are the third and most invisible tribe in Burundi. They live on less than 35c a day. They tend to eat once every three days—a small meal of cassava, maybe some potatoes or beans. The only water they have access to, is dirty and takes a three-hour walk (to and then back) to get. You can imagine how hungry the kids get by that third day … Sometimes parents don’t eat, so there is more for their kids. But it never feels like enough. We are working to help change the story.
They are changing the story by building a well, clean water that is readily available. (Pause and understand that “readily available” is a well in the village and not a tap in the kitchen.) This means more time for food, for play, for life. They have asked 100 of their readers to form a “circle of grace.” And I volunteered. A circle of grace is 10 people who give 10 dollars right here. You can change someone’s life for the cost of a heart-shaped pizza.
I know that I have readers who don’t have 10 dollars, but you do have Facebook accounts, email addresses, relationships with people who have 10 dollars to give.
In the past I have been ashamed of sharing the good that other people are doing. I don’t want to be the girl who is always asking for money. But maybe, maybe I don’t care anymore. Maybe it is worth it if it means a SheLoves Well, a village with clean water, a mother who has an answer for a baby crying “I hungry.” 10 dollars. Right here. You have it, they need it.
Momma, I hungry. I know that cry. I hear it multiple times a day and sigh at the tedium of fetching a snack that would not be thrown to the dog. I am embarrassed by my privilege, sick over the injustice of cupboards full and mouths that sigh “there is nothing to eat” in the face of plenty.
I cannot imagine a reality where “I hungry momma” could only be answered with “I know, baby, I know.” I cannot fathom the heart break every time those words are uttered.
But I can imagine the hope of God’s people standing side by side, I can imagine the water springing forth from the ground, I can imagine redemption of a selfish heart, of my selfish heart and a hunger filled by the way God multiplies 10 dollars worth of obedience.
Won’t you join my circle of grace? Come dance with us on holy ground. Let’s join hands and hearts and prayers and dollars and influence. Let’s choose to do something good in the face of the terrible. Let’s choose hope. Let’s Love Well.