(Disclaimer: There are some very graphic photos in the video below. You may desire to preview before watching with your small children. )
The spunky girl didn't get the pink plate when lunch time rolled around. She melted onto the picnic blanket into a heap of tears. Her drama stemmed into a conversation on gratitude... Onto the blessing of food... Onto the reality that we have much and so many have so little.
We chat about this often around here, the treasures and I. And I've thought for some time to do what we did today but I felt reserve and a little worry about the whole thing. I wondered if it might just be to much for their young hearts, for their innocent eyes.
And yet my words seemed not to be getting through and I longed for them to SEE. See that that juicy turkey sandwich on their plate was a blessing... not a burden.
So a bit skeptical, I gathered the treasures around and I showed them this video...
And this one... (More graphic than the first; I cried as I read the words to the treasures.)
What happened as each picture came up on this screen, was beyond me.
Our treasures are 6, 5, 3 & 1.
THe dancing girl stared wide-eyed,
"Those kids are so skinny mom."
"I know" I said.
I didn't know that when we slowed down to watch, maybe my eyes would be opened too.
Then the dancing girl could no longer look.
Tears streamed down my five-year-olds face.
I asked why she was crying?
"They have so little, and we have so much."
Half way through, the spunky girl, who had been complaining about her lunch just five minutes prior, looked up and straight into me with her sandwich in her hand,
"Thank you for my sandwich Mama."
Then she looked back at the screen.
She's three. And something sank in, something changed her.
When the video was over, the dancing girl pulled her hands down from over her eyes and asked if we could watch it again.
Instead I asked them what we might be able to do? How could we watch and not be compelled to respond?
I started us off...
"A very small way that we can respond is to choose gratitude. We-are-blessed! Let's spend our days thankful, rather than complaining."
To my surprise they were filled with their own ideas.
"Next time we go to the store, we could buy less for ourselves and some food for those who don't have any," the oldest laid it out there.
And then my sweet dancing girl, with a tender gift of compassion, picked up on the "dollar a day" from the video. She gets a quarter a week for completing her chores, and she doesn't yet understand money and maybe she doesn't yet even understand her own willingness to sacrifice, but she goes up stairs and she brings down her quarters and she says it to my completely humble amazement,
"They can have these."
It's a bag of all she has.
It's only $1.25.
And I think about how she's five and how to often I doubt what the Lord can and does do in the inner heart of a child. A little girl who can't talk theology, or speak eloquently about the Gospel. But somehow He's enabled her to grasp that although in this farmhouse we live paycheck to paycheck, WE ARE RICH...
"They have so little, and we have so much"...
At dinner last night, all three talking treasures, THANKed me for their chicken, vegetable soup. Even the spunky girl who sat right next to me at the table, said it over and over again,
"I'm eating joyfully Mom."
It's only been a few days, and change will be gradual. But we're thinking a little differently around here.
As He opens our eyes, He will fill our minds with ideas for change, and He will strengthen us to move out of ourselves and further into Him.
I cried today as I wrote out my grocery list.
Sometimes the needs of this world can overwhelm. Where to begin? How can little old me help?
And I know the answer, but sometimes its hard to trust...
We can be obedient to the little things. We can sponsor a child through compassion. We can buy cans of food and bring them to our local food bank. And in the obedience of the small things, our ears are being trained to hear His voice towards the bigger things.
Ultimately it all comes from Him.
He is able to do in us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask... or imagine.
It was one unexpectedly sweet hour with my treasures. :)