Yesterday, I was trying to be all Suzie Homemaker and I decided that I was going to make homemade chicken and dumpling soup for dinner. I was looking in the cabinet for a can of green beans and then this happened:
A huge family sized box of spaghetti noodles fell out all over the counter and on the floor. They had to pretty much be picked up noodle by noodle to keep them all from cracking and breaking and it took a long time to get them back in the box. The whole time I was stacking pasta, I was livid. I kept thinking, "If only those cabinets weren't so freaking full..." I stopped myself and then I got mad- mad that I was actually complaining for having too much food in my cabinets. After all I know about the world and how many children and families are living in poverty all over the place! Even people in my own community are hungry and here I was- ticked off and complaining that my cabinets were so full that my spaghetti toppled out all over the place! Six months ago, after coming home from Africa, I couldn't look at food without bursting into tears at the injustice of it all. And now? Here I am- back to complacency.
I got the dinner going and then took my angry, ungrateful self to Sadie's school for her parent teacher conference. Her teacher was going over Sadie's report card with me and she said, "Oh! And Sadie's can is starting to fill up!"
I had no idea what her teacher was talking about. I gave her kind of a quizzical look and she walked over to her desk and picked up a diet Pepsi can that Sadie had painted and taken to school. She shook the can and I heard the clinking of change hitting the sides. Her teacher said that right after school started in August, Sadie had brought in that can and asked if she could talk to her class about her can. Sadie (my child with HORRIBLE social anxiety!) got up in front of the whole class and talked to them about how people were living in poverty in Africa and Haiti. She told all of her classmates that whenever they had extra coins, they could put them in the can she painted and she would donate the money to make sure that kids in Congo and Haiti had enough to eat. Her teacher said that the kids in the class get so excited when they find pennies out on the playground and they run in and put their coins in "Sadie's can". My daughter created a movement in her classroom all by herself and she never even mentioned it!
I was beyond proud in that moment. This on the heels of recognizing my own ingratitude at the things that I am blessed with. The faith and the motivation of a 6 year old to change her world humbled me.
Today, I am reevaluating. I am reaffirming. I am pulling myself out of that complacency. While there are still families in the world who have no idea where their next meal will come from, I will never again lament the crowdedness of my kitchen cabinets.
I am beginning to get serious about making another trip to Congo in the next year. With that will come a massive fundraising effort to raise money to deliver aid to orphanages there. I'm not sure what that will look like, but my daughter's can of coins is inspiring me. Thank you, Sadie for your inspiration. You are such a blessing to me.
*Last year, we raised over $5000 for Haiti and the Congo with our vacation raffle. I have no doubt that this year we could make $10,000 doing the same thing. If you are someone who owns a vacation home and would be interested in donating a week's stay (tax deductible) for a raffle to raise money for impoverished families in Congo, please get in touch with me. firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!