Monday, May 27, 2013

start small. think big.

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Yesterday, many churches across Australia took part in Compassion Sunday. Ours was one of them.  I came away inspired.  Inspired by this one statement.  'start small.  think big.'

I find, when I am participant in one of these sorts of events that I am always ALWAYS touched emotionally.  Operation Christmas Child ... when we watch a video of a child who would never otherwise have received a gift, opening a shoe box, I am reduced to tears.  Watoto Childrens Choir ... when I've seen them performed and listened to their stories of hopelessness and despair, I am reduced to tears.  

But really, what good are my tears?

Unless they spur me towards action.

Yesterday I sat and watched, once again in tears, confronted with the reality that more than 1.4 billion people in the developing world live below the poverty line (U.S.$1.25 per day) and that EVERY YEAR more than 9 million children under the age of 5 die. Two-thirds of these deaths — more than 6 million every year — are preventable,  and one third of them are from malnutrition. 923 million people worldwide are undernourished, and there are more than 9 million deaths related to hunger each year. 

I've heard this stuff before.  I've shed tears about it before.  Who hasn't?

But what good are my tears?  

Without action.

1.4 billion people ... that's a whole lot of people who need help ... who need someone to do something.  That's a whole lot of overwhelming hopelessness.  It's intimidating and daunting.  It's probably easier to just do nothing. 

One of the videos we watched yesterday is called Soundarya's story (you can download the full version here if you want to see it, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll see links to a few videos.) In the video there was a boy, probably not much older than my boy.  He and his brothers work with their Dad doing back breaking, mind numbing work, for less than .30c a day.  At one point the boy said this "I do have dreams for a better future, but my dreams will never come true, so let me not have any dreams at all."  

That is not ok with me.  So the question I ask myself is ... how can I just do nothing?

I can't.

But what can I do?

I can start small ...

And I'm going to.  

I thought about it all day yesterday.  About the choices I have.  The choices I continually make.  Will I eat out?  Will I eat at home?  Will I buy a snack because I'm a little bit peckish?  Will I eat the lunch that I brought to work or will I just discard it and buy something else? And those choices are just about food ... but they are choices.  And I have power over how I chose.

Often I'll make a choice and then feel bad about it.  But, whatever, I get over it and move on.  I started to wonder what would happen if my choice had another side to it.  Like ... I can buy that snack, or I can save what I would have spent on that snack.  Not for myself.  But for someone else.  What if by making a different choice, I could actually make life better for someone else?  Sounds crazy but a $3 bag of chips is 10 days salary for the boy who has decided it's better not to dream ...

So, this is where I am going to start.  With my choices.  I'm making a budget category called "CHOICE" ... and every time I make the choice NOT to buy something indulgent or unnecessary, I'm going to transfer what I would have spent into that 'envelope'.   Does that mean that I'll never again buy a hot chocolate from my favorite cafe?  Probably not.  Does that mean I need to feel guilty if I do?  I don't think so.  What it does mean is that I will make more conscious decisions about this sort of spending.  

Yesterday, we went directly from church to buy school shoes for the kids.  I was ready to eat ... I'd say I was starving, but really ... not in the true meaning.  Normally I would have just grabbed us something to eat, knowing full well that we'd be home to a fridge full of leftovers, in just an hour.

But I didn't.  I couldn't.  

There is now $20 in my CHOICE envelope.

I hope that in time, it will lead to something bigger ... 

For now ... I'm choosing to start small.  

But, at the very least, I'm choosing to start ....

5 comments:

Sabba and Nanny May 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM  

Wonderfully put. Couldn't have said it better. Loved it. Another way to look at "start small; think big" is that if each of us did just what you are doing, it would soon be BIG!

Mari May 27, 2013 at 8:56 AM  

I was just talking to my hubby about this - that we are so blessed and then so selfish about what we are given. I like the saying...I like your plan.

Sandra May 28, 2013 at 12:12 AM  

Great post Bonnie :)

Pammy May 29, 2013 at 4:55 AM  

Wonderful, heartfelt post! Reminds me of a favorite quote by Mother Teresa that says "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

Proud of you and your small things done with great love!

Love you!

Khrista July 1, 2013 at 3:33 AM  

So amazingly convicting and inspiring! You have presented a very tangible way for me to make better choices, and help those in need! Love this, YOU, and your heart! Thank you for sharing!

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