Well, look around. What DO you take for granted? I’m just back from a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica. It was a very eye opening, challenging and amazing experience. Here are three things that I took for granted before going on this trip.
Sharp pencils. In the Whitewing neighborhood, we volunteered at the summer school program of St. Pius Parish. I worked in the Learning Center where we did a math or English project each day. We used pencils for our work but the pencils kept breaking. Every time we would just get them sharp enough to use (with a small manual sharpener), they broke. It was so frustrating! I will never take a good sharpened pencil for granted again. And one with a good eraser is definitely a blessing!
Clean streets and yards. There is trash everywhere in Kingston – on the streets, in the yards, on the sidewalks and all around a community called Riverton, which is right in the middle of the city dump. In the midst of the community is a compound with a school, early childhood center, and a container classroom. More importantly, there are many beautiful children living amidst the trash. The kids don’t seem to mind it, but I wonder how much healthier they would be living where there are clean streets and yards. It has made me think about the junk I use and discard without a thought.
Jesus in the bodies of the marginalized. We also visited several Mustard Seed communities. The Mustard Seed Organization houses children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. At the King’s House, the director of the program, Donna, picked up the youngest member of that community, eleven month old Daniella with Down syndrome. Daniella immediately reached out for me and I took her into my arms. She snuggled onto my chest and into my arms and heart. I knew that a special love was being given to me. I’ve struggled to see God in the face of others, but God was clearly in the broken bodies of these children. I was holding God!
There are lots of other things that I realized that I take for granted when I returned to my comfortable home and my air conditioned car. I hope you will take a minute to consider what you take for granted and appreciate it a little more.
Gracious God, you are present in the bodies of little children, the poor and the disabled. Help me to see you there and be grateful for all that I have. Amen.