That's pretend, right?
It rained today for a few hours and it felt weird because we haven't had a ton of that in the last year in Georgia. We've had some off and on showers, but we've been struggling with a drought that has robbed our lakes and placed several water bans on our neighborhoods.
The weird thing is that until you don't get any rain, you take it for granted. You just expect that it will happen. That is what naturally happens. Water falls from the sky, clouds open up, flowers and trees and birds get a drink. But when you don't have rain, when it just stops for a week or a month or a year, you suddenly realize how much you've been taking it for granted.
The other day, my daughter dropped a child-sized nuclear bomb on me that reminded me of something else I have taken for granted.
We were looking at a book on storms, something she loves right now, and came to a page about drought and famine. In the corner of the page was a little boy from Ethiopia. He was starving, with ribs sticking out and flies covering his small face. I kept flipping the pages but L.E. made me stop and return to that one. She asked, "What's that?" I told her, "That's a little boy that doesn't have enough food to eat. He is poor." She thought for a few seconds and then responded, "That's not real though. That's pretend right?"
This simple question floored me. In her mind, deep within the truth that is the heart of a four year old, she could literally not fathom a child ever being hungry. The idea that someone would starve did not make any sense. Death by poverty did not register with her. She thought it was unreal.
I confess that I take poverty for granted. I flipped right by that photo without registering even the faintest emotion I throw at ABC's Extreme Home Makeover. I act like poverty is natural. That starving is just something that happens. That kids without food is the way the world is.
But maybe it's not. Maybe when Christ said he wants us to have the faith of a child, this is exactly what He was talking about. That it is unacceptable for a child to starve to death. That it is not right or natural for another human being to die of a preventable disease or a mosquito bite or water that is polluted.
I support a few charities and tonight I registered a new website, unrealpoverty.com. There is nothing up right now and I don't know if I will ever be able to do anything with it. But if things continue to go the way they are going and people to continue to build a community around the conversations we are having online, maybe someday I'll get to start a charity. Maybe someday I won't take poverty for granted. Maybe someday I'll help make it unreal.