Mali 2010 (115)
This evening in my Doctrine & Covenants class we talked about Jesus’s words in Section 38, “I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool.” Jesus tells us the riches of the earth and the riches of eternity “are mine to give.” In the same breath, his words implore us to “look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer.” He could make every family rich, if he chose. Why has he chosen not to?

Whenever I read words like these, or like King Benjamin’s, I immediately see the faces of children who live in remote villages far from here, who pull contaminated water from drying wells and who’s meager diet consists of millet for every meal eaten from a communal pot. They sleep on wooden planks or on mats on the ground under nets to keep mosquitoes with deadly bites from infecting them. They work hard and long under scorching sun. Their feet are calloused, cracked and dry, their clothing, worn and tattered.

I wonder about my relationship to them, these children of the sun, and their families. I think about them at night as I slip into clean sheets under beautiful quilts and look out my bedroom window at green pine boughs covered with snow. My skin is soft, my belly is filled, my head swims with new ideas and exciting projects every night. My children are safe and healthy and comfortable. We have abundant lives. There is no need unfilled.

Why, why, why such abundance? Why do I live here and now? Why do we have so much more than we need?

I believe these children of the sun are here, on this earth, more for my sake than I am here for their sake. I need them more than they need me. They are here to help me learn to share.

Too often we look away, we fail to notice them, we ignore their need. They, and others like them, are so far from us. We pretend they don’t know what they are missing. They may not know, but I do. And so I must help.

I thought of this poem tonight, my constant prayer:

God–let me be aware.
Let me not stumble blindly down the ways,
Just getting somehow safely through the days,
Not even groping for another hand,
Not even wondering why it all was planned,
Eyes to the ground unseeking for the light,
Soul never aching for a wild-winged flight,
Please, keep me eager just to do my share.
God–let me be aware.

God–let me be aware.
Stab my soul fiercely with others’ pain,
Let me walk seeing horror and stain,
Let my hands, groping, find other hands.
Give me the heart that divines, understands.
Give me the courage, wounded, to fight.
Flood me with knowledge, drench me in light.
Please–keep me eager to do my share.
God–let me be aware.

–Miriam Teichner b. 1888

Mali 2010 (111)

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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