Has it really been almost 2 months since I last posted? I have 4 half-written blogs: more about salvation; heaven and hell; canoeing& backpacking; and of course, Addie (my dog).
But today I'm going to write about food. I forgot to pick up a CSA (community supported agriculture) share for some parishioners on vacation. I felt sorry to have dropped my responsibility and more sorry to miss the veggies and fruits. But, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Reason? I've got a full fridge. I'm in no danger of going hungry.
I love summer food and I've been cooking up a storm. Pork, corn and peaches on the grill; blueberry buttermilk pancakes; grilled squash, eggplant and red pepper; spinach-shrimp-basil pasta; BLTs with slices of tomato so thick you hardly need the bacon (except, of course, you need the bacon!).
So here's a disquieting experience: savoring a veggie breakfast omelet with melon and berries on the side while looking at online news pictures of starvation in Somalia.
My heartstrings are pulled by visions of people dying - 2000 a day is the current estimate. Moments later I am distracted: orange juice or lemonade to drink on a hot summer day? I have both at the ready. It is hard to square my abundance with the desperation of others.
The tomato picture is from our church's garden. I took it today. The garden is thriving.
Compare that to the picture of the meager food in the hands below. It comes from the ELCA website about the drought and famine. Here's the caption:
“This is the last of my food, a few beans. I used to grow food myself but there has been no rainfall in eight years, so now I have to buy all my food from the market. The prices keep going up. We only have enough food for one meal a day now, and that goes for all people in this area,” says Lucia Muvili Ngotho (pictured left) from the Kalimbui village in Mwingi, Kenya.Comparing the realities in the two pictures is disquieting. Something is not right.
Part of why I haven't written is that I've been in a general slump of life. Slumps happen. I generally don't think it's helpful to compare your problems to other people with "real problems" in an effort to feel better. Problems aren't proportional and you can get yourself into a dither of guilt by comparing.
But a little perspective can be sobering. As the old saying goes: I complained about not having shoes until I met a man with no feet.
This sign is part of the Gaithersburg HELP educational materials. Last Saturday some people play I frisbee with threw their support behind Gaithersburg HELP by having a Fannie Mae mini-"walk." As I was hammering the sign into the ground, I was struck by its message. Humbled.
Having the kind of problems I have is only possible because of the kind of problems I don't have. There are people in the world who would weep with joy to have 1/10 of the food I have in my fridge and would consider their problems solved if they could turn on water from their kitchen.
That disquieting feeling? I've come to recognize it as the seeds of a calling. Though the disaster in East Africa is beyond proportions we ever face, hunger exists in my own zip code. I know I wasn't alone last Saturday in feeling good that at least I was able to do something active to respond to the disquieting reality that so many people are hungry.
If you want to find out more about Gaithersburg HELP or Fannie Mae's walks for the homeless, including how to sponsor a mini-walk/run/game/etc, let me know. And if you want to donate to the Lutheran efforts to help the famine, click here.
Also, the Gazette covered our frisbee game. Check out the article here.