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TITLE: Well Spring
By Sandra DeHoogh
02/13/07
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One sleepless night, I turned to the TV to pass the hours. I definitely did not anticipate that my character was about to endure a little more refining though. Uncultural images flashed before me, slowly stirring feelings of compassion, foreign emotions that grew causing me to feel very uncomfortable. I wondered if self centeredness, inadequacy or just plain busyness had unconsciously been trying to suppress these involuntary emotions which at the very least, demanded a response. My flesh was screaming at me to change the channel, but my eyes were fused. Life was lying naked in the dirt, skin wrapped around nothing but bones, too weak to move, cruelly & slowly dying.

If the images stopped at that, the experience would have been dismissed as another appeal for aide. They revealed so much more than the common media displays of poverty and despair that the public ignore. What totally captured my whole being were eyes that cut to my soul. Contrasted profusely against the dark brown skin, these eyes searched desperately; frantically for a promise of hope or a message of worth; that their life held value. Yet they also revealed terror, if not from the pain suffered in this child’s short life, most certainly for what was to be confronted now in death. I was uncertain even of the child’s gender but was definitely confronted by the preteen age, being accustomed I guess to the babies usually displayed to attract aide. Perplexed, I wondered why survival had been granted for so long, yet the fight for life was now being lost? Were food rations being forfeited by the child for the love of younger siblings? Was there no family to fight for the child’s wellbeing? And why were there so many apparently healthier children playing around this child, not suffering the same fate and unaffected by the tragedy occurring right in front of them? Are they just as desensitized as us?

What happened next though was even more surprising to me. Convulsing sobs rose up from within me like that of an exploding volcano. I watched my response like a child in an adult conversation. My reasoning knew I could suppress this response if I just looked away, but this time, I chose not to. Pictures like this have, over time, desensitized and deceived me into believing that this is just part of life, just definitely not mine. Until now. I saw, I knew that lies causing inaction were being exposed and my response now would be different.

And then the enemy’s deceitful thoughts started rolling in trying to justify this tragedy as common and to convince me why I shouldn’t involve myself or waste my time or resources. “You can’t do anything about this. The problem is too big for an insignificant person like you to fix”. One reason I write is to concrete in me the TRUTH that exposes that lie. Also, the compassion I felt I knew was not my own because it compelled me into action & wasn’t fueled by guilt. I knew that even if nothing eventuated from my efforts, I would rather live life knowing I didn’t turn away. Besides, I am forever ruined for the ordinary. After that night sitting in the dark; how could I enjoy any privilege of life that God will send my way knowing that I am deliberately turning my face away from another’s suffering. Yes, I know I can’t and won’t be able help everyone, but I can help those who God puts in my path. Like the woman who saw a beach full of stranded starfish and started throwing them back into the sea. A passerby asked why she bothered that there were far too many. Her reply: “Yes there are. But I can make a difference to this one”, throwing a single starfish, “and this one”, throwing another back into the waves.

So now, what do I do with this. I could either give alone or use my conviction to motivate others and I feel led to excavate this path past you offering an interesting challenge. If we collected all the coins from the cash trays in the cars, from the jar in the kitchen or from our bedside table and empty the coins from our purses, we could witness what God can do with roughly 100 families and their “loose change”. Let’s combat a lie now and emphatically state that we all know that we definitely won’t suffer in the slightest for giving our coins. Consider it as one more Christmas gift. The primary reason for withholding could be that giving money is still a human challenge, a constant battle against the flesh, so maybe together, we can start small with the goal to stretch and grow. I will close with a quote I ironically read in Above Rubies Magazine just as I finished journaling, “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.” – Mother Teresa
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