First, I want to thank you all for the comments you left Corbett. He has read them all – it thrilled my heart that you guys took the time to write him specifically. Thank you!
Last week, I sat at the Compassion headquarters in Ecuador listening to the Country Director share with us. He explained many of the ‘business’ aspects of Compassion. How they pick where they work, when they move out of a place, the financial integrity of the organization and countless other facts that I scribbled down quickly. I tend to be a bit cynical by nature. However, after last week I could write a whole post on all the ways Compassion completely blew my mind as an organization, but that is for another day.
As he spoke, he made an quick reference to a quote by Wess Stafford (former President of Compassion).
“The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, the opposite of poverty is enough.” ~ Wess Stafford
Those words keep replaying in my mind since the moment I heard them. I am back home now. Pushed hard into the daily realities of life in my culture. Basketball games. Daddy/Daughter dances. Pantry full of food that no one wants to eat. Furniture in every room. The land of plenty…a land of wealth…a culture that doesn’t celebrate ‘enough’.
We are a culture that pushes for more. Our homes get bigger. We acquire more stuff. We work ourselves ragged to accomplish more in our careers. We are always chasing more. It is a rare thing to see someone celebrate the beauty of enough. I’ve made this transition many times. Experiencing poverty and having to reconcile it to my life full of luxuries, opportunities, and excess.
“Enough” looks different for everyone. What is enough for me is not the same as what enough looks like for someone else. Often it seems like we dictate what is enough for ourselves and our families based on the constant pursuit of more around us. When everyone is chasing for more, it becomes increasingly difficult to recognize what is enough for ourselves.
Comparing our ‘enough’ to others versions of ‘enough’ can lead to judgement and pride too. What is enough for me does not determine what enough should look like for someone else.
The first time I returned home after visiting a poverty stricken area of another country, I wanted to sell everything I owned. It is a pretty common response. My response has been different every time since. This time I am struck by seeking to really recognize enough in my own life.
When I am not blinded by the pursuit of more and I can see what is enough, then the floodgates are opened to pour all my plenty into others…both near and far.
When I think back to my time in Ecuador, this picture will sum it all up to me:
He made a video camera out of boxes and paint. Along with a little girl and a broken microphone, they interviewed me for their news station. They asked questions like, “What motivates you to help children? What is in your heart that makes you love us?” Their questions were hard. I was sweating and nervous answering them! In the end, I congratulated them for being true journalists.
Here’s the deal – where they live kids don’t pretend to be journalists. Kids fight to survive. They endure their days. While I took this picture, behind me was a locked gate. It protected the girls inside from trucks of boys and men parked outside. Hope often doesn’t exist outside those gates. Dreaming seems futile. But for this young news crew and the other kids running around us – things were different.
Somewhere someone decided they had ‘enough’ and chose to use their plenty to invest in him. In his news crew. In the sweet girl that asked me tough questions.
“What I think everybody has to determine for themselves is – what is enough? Anything beyond enough can trap you.” – Wess Stafford.
Anything beyond ‘enough’ can trap you. I don’t want to be trapped or controlled by my ‘plenty’, but goodness it sure can happen easily. I’m home now. I will still pick up my camera daily. I will still paint random things around my house. I will still be me living a life of gratitude, but I hope to be ever more aware of the point that my enough ends and plenty begins. I want to so mindful of my enough – not just with my stuff, but in how and where I invest my time. I want to know when I’ve reached that point of enough, so I can lavishly pour my plenty on others – near and far.
Thank you for following along with us last week. As a team we hoped to see 200 kids sponsored. On day 4 we were at 42 and a bit heartbroken. Honestly, I was so discouraged. I remember driving up a dirt road to a small home, completely discouraged. Coming face to face with the difference that sponsorship makes for children and their communities, I wanted to do more. In my head I was thinking maybe if I was better writer or a more connected blogger or had more influence that number would be bigger. I was looking at all the ways I thought I needed more. Turns out what I had was enough. I had you, passionate trip teammates, amazing friends and a God that moves in the hearts of people. Thank you to all of you that sponsored kids, those who used your influence and platforms to advocate, those that shared about our trip and those that encouraged us while we were gone.
As I write this, 220 kids were sponsored! 220 children. 220 beautiful faces with a bright hope for the future. 220 times someone decided to invest their plenty in the most beautiful place – a child. Thank you.
It is not too late to join us, would you consider sponsoring a child?