Dark brown hair. Deep brown eyes that seem to peer back into my own. I picked her because she’s the same age as my oldest niece but the similarities I think stop there. I look at her picture daily and am reminded how different her life is from mine. It puts my life in perspective. I could wish for her to have a life like mine, a privileged American living the dream, but is that what she really needs? Actually is it even what I need?
I’m reminded how we live in such a disposable society and how likely it is that she thrives on what others dispose of, including some of our disposable income, my few monthly dollars that go towards child sponsorship. Her clothes are most likely hand-me-downs or even cast offs. Her shoes – geez, I wonder if she even owns a pair and if they fit well and how far she has to walk each day and if she’s ever ridden in a car. I’m sure she doesn’t fret about rising gas prices like I do, but no doubt they affect her life in the long run. I can’t help thinking about her whenever I go to purchase a cup of coffee, wondering if she even had clean water to drink that day – and enough of it, with 4 or 5 siblings.
I think about all that goes into a mealtime for me – the preparation and decision making. I have choices and how often do I choose less than the best? Chances are she doesn’t have many choices when it comes to eating. It is merely life-sustaining, if it is that at all. I have the luxury of time and space to think and dream. I wonder if she has any dreams for her life, beyond just surviving until the next day, in a country plagues by AIDS and hunger. I so take Jesus for granted, along with the multiple Bibles I own but often neglect, and I wonder if she’s ever heard his name and what he means to her.
At the end of the day, we’re not so very different, she and I. We both need a living breathing relationship with God our creator. And we’re both loved and cared for by our awesome God. We’re connected by people at World Vision who make it possible for those of us who have way more than we’ll ever need to share with those who have way less than they really need. Oh yes, I give a few dollars a month (really, about the cost of a daily cup of coffee – which I can still afford) towards her sponsorship, in hopes that she will thrive and that her community will grow into a self-sustaining entity. But she has already given me so much more.