Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dumpster Diven'

I'm almost embarrassed to write this post, almost... but as not so much embarrasses me anymore (too many years married to Tony??) - here goes...

In an attempt to journal the crazy things my kids do, I couldn't leave this nugget of information out as I'm sure my son will greatly appreciate my sharing when he is trying to get a date or get into a good college.

He's an addict. And I'm o.k. with that (most of the time). My son is a dumpster diver. There. I said it. He loves to go with his Daddy to the county dump on Saturday to "hunt for treasure". And he's proud of it.

Since I'm not a dumpster diver myself, as I understand it, there is a special "Treasure Dumpster" where he finds his stash. He's come home with an ambulance, goggles you "can see race cars in!!!", barely used bikes, which his Daddy then changes out a seat on or replaces a tire tube in - and they're good as new. They have then given these bikes to neighborhood kids that don't have bikes, or taken them to Goodwill. Tony's highlights of the year were a real barber's chair to cut the kid's hair, and a good as new pitching machine for the ball team. Like son, like Daddy.

Now that I have completely grossed you out that we allow our son to bring home treasures from the county dump, (and most likely secured it that you wont let your kids play with my kid's toys anymore..) let me get to the point...

We Americans throw away half a pizza un-eaten, left-overs that we 'just don't feel like eating again tomorrow', shoes that were 'so old I had them in high school'. And yet still, we often are able to say, without a hint of sarcasm, that we can't afford to help out children in poverty. It amazes me. Even in a recession/depression, as we tighten our belts and watch our money more carefully, we still have more than we need. But maybe not all that we want.

In a personal reference letter a great friend wrote for me for my adoption packet, he wrote that I was "passionate for social justice." And that made me cringe. Social justice today has come to mean Michelle Obama's pie explanation - we need to take some of your slice of pie to give to someone else who doesn't have as much pie. And while that imagery fits - it is still wrong.

Today's social justice in America is - the government taking what they think is your excess, and (wastefully spending) on those that don't have an excess. And that, to me - is not justice, that's stealing.

But how much good could we do if instead of being forced to give, our wages stolen out of our hand and given to another - that we would be known as a Christian society that instead just gives. To hang on to our excess, to turn our eyes from those in need because we never know when we may need that extra money, is not Christlike. That's more like greed.

Because even if my husband is laid off again, even if my car is repo-ed, even if we have our house fore-closed on and have to rent a smaller place - we still have more than we need. And that's painful to realize.

So my little son - we are so, so blessed that you can find your treasures at the dump. That you can smile over a new toy. We are so, so blessed that our children have more than they need. That they have more than one meal a day and it does not come from a garbage pile. Just something to think about in these tough economic times.

As we are able to bring gently used items home to our clean home, soak them down with Lysol and anti-bacterial wipes --- there are thousands of children around the world who don't have that luxury. Their treasures are not used bikes, or push toys - but scraps of food. Food that is needed just to make it to the next day. To another day of scavenging on the streets, or the city dump. This is the images that have been on my mind lately - a place in the very city I visited in Africa. I place that I didn't know about until recently. A place that many of the orphans that come into agency placement may come from.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12

What is it that God would have you to do with that which he has given you?
Help others to have clean water Sponsor a child in another country give to a poor village help mother's and babies in need provide help for street orphans give a barefoot child a pair of shoes

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