World Vision, My Vision
It must have been at least four years ago when I stumbled out of the church sanctuary and into the quaint, sunlit, foyer. The pastor was a brilliant man but at my age, his messages seemed to pass right overhead. As a result I would sneak glances at the clock behind me, counting down the minutes praying, yes, praying that his sermon would be over quickly. As I waited impatiently, my fingers would twitch and my legs would swing back and forth occasionally hitting the occupied chair in front of me at which point I would shift my head nonchalantly in the opposite direction as if nothing had happened. Finally the pastor ended in prayer and I jumped up in glorious exaltation because the service was finally over. I ran to the foyer as my parents lingered to chat with friends. I glanced around and seeing no faces I recognized, I slowly drifted over to a table in the corner with a sign that read, “Sponsor a Child Today.” The table was covered with numerous pamphlets with various children that were available to be sponsored. I began rifling through the pictures as if they were the latest video game until I came across one of the happiest children I have ever seen. His name was Oscar and he was one day older than my brother. We took Oscar home that Sunday joyously, for less than a dollar a day.
It was not long before I could barely remember his name. His picture was tacked innocently on our bulletin board, his dirty clothes barely clinging to his small, fragile frame. He should not have had a smile on his face but there he was, showing off his discolored teeth without a care in the world. I walked past his picture every day noticing him less and less. Pictures are sent to us not to show off what our child looks like but to remind us that we are sponsoring that child. We need to be reminded because it is so easy to forget, to be consumed with our own miniscule problems that we forget about the poverty and distress in our world. We forget that there are people worse off than us. Our wants and desires are insatiable and we take for granted every right, freedom and every opportunity that we are blessed with. We turn our heads and give third worlds and struggling nations not as much attention as they deserve instead deciding to bury our heads into our expensive houses, fast cars, fashionable clothing, big screen TVs and our finances sitting in the bank, gaining interest far too slowly. I am not saying everyone is like this nor am I excluding myself, for God knows I looked at Oscar’s picture today for the first time in a long time. His letters came every few months and I skimmed them over quickly never taking the time to write him back. I would leave that to my sister and when she did not do it either, my mom ended up filling up the space on the card. I guess I was just too busy playing X Box or going to a movie with all my friends. Thirty dollars came out of the bank each month – wasn’t that good enough? No. Not even close. We cannot just fund other people’s lives and hope they turn out better. They need our time and hands to help create a better world for everyone.
People say money is the root of all evil. Others say money brings happiness. I know first hand from my own experience that money tears apart families and destroys important friendships and relationships. It creates rifts and judgement in our lives creating more problems then solutions. We judge people based on what they wear, what they drive; ultimately everything that can be bought is judged. We make assumptions based on these initial judgements and can treat people differently than they should be treated as an outcome. Money exemplifies greed, and greed creates a world where thousands of people die daily from malnutrition, disease, and harsh living environments, just to name a few. Millions of people scavenge for food wanting only their basic needs to be met. What do we want? More than what we already have which is too much. We are presented with innumerable opportunities daily such as work and education. What we do not realize is that the people who do not have these choices or are denied them would pay every last cent to have the opportunities that present themselves to us every day. Since they are so readily available to us, we push them aside because, well, there is always tomorrow right?
I honestly believe if everyone had a chance to be the sick diseased man, the young inexperienced mother, or the parentless child, draped in filthy, torn, rags while limping on blistered, tired feet and swishing dirty water between their blackened teeth, then this world may just open up a little more and provide more attention and assistance to those who need it most. From war torn nations to even those that are homeless in our own city anything can help but before we can get to we, it starts with me.
Dear Oscar, I’m sorry I did not write sooner…