Monday, December 12, 2011


Recently, a disturbing picture, a profoundly impacting one, popped up on my Facebook feed.  It seems to be making the rounds because I've seen it several times since.  The picture is one with a split image--on the left is a horrific image of several little ones suffering from kwashiorkor, the malnutrition disease which presents visually as children with spindly bodies and distended bellies.  These, alone, make their heads look gigantic.  The children seem to be reaching toward food, that is the implication.  On the right is the image of haggard mothers racing frantically through a department store, their carts and arms overflowing with games and toys.  These words are emblazoned on the top and bottom:  DEFINE NECESSITY.

Honestly, my very (very) first thought was:  Yeah, yeah--I know.  Trying to pull my heartstrings

This gave way to:  Well?  What am I supposed to do about it? I can't help these kids any more than I could feed those poor starving kids in China when I was little and didn't want to clean my plate.

Then:  I certainly hope this whomps some of these materialistic people in the eye!  They should take their extra and give it to hungry babies.  Why, God, if you'd give me extra this Christmas, that's what I'd do!

And finally...It is what it is, I guess.  Jesus says, "The poor will always be with us."

As I consider these thoughts and their order, I am reminded of  Kubler-Ross's model for the "stages of grief" (or death, or dying):  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  A loud, resounding YES echoes through my heart chambers!  Yes, yes, yes!  We are dying in droves, not from starvation, not from malnutrition, but from a lack of common sense.  There is not one among us who does not feel sad for these hungry children, but how many of us are still trying to manipulate our purse strings so we can fill up our own kids' stockings with the things they want?  Somehow, even the wisest of parents break at Christmas. 

What's dying here is our self-control, our wisdom, our adherence to our own words.  We can tell our kids until we're blue in the face that raking in the loot is not what Christmas is all about, but unless we show them, our words amount to nothing.