Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Big Picture

We often say "what a small world" when seeing someone in an unlikely place, or discovering we have mutual friends with someone.  It makes me giggle a little every time I hear that phrase, because when I hear it I am reminded that this world isn't small at all.  It is "our" world that is small.  I don't want to speak for everyone, but I know for myself, a U.S. citizen born and raised, that seeing things about stuff happening all around the world, well it doesn't seem to matter much.  I know that sounds awful, but come on, admit it, if it isn't affecting your life directly, you don't worry yourself too much about it.  You may feel bad for a moment, but that feeling quickly goes away. How often do you hear about starving children around the world and just say "aww that's awful" as you sip your six dollar venti cappuccino or chow down on your 5 dollar cheeseburger from the local pub.  I am not trying to call anyone out, because I do the exact same thing! It is so hard to see outside of our own little worlds, but I think we need to remember that we are not just citizens of the United States. We share this planet with billions of people around the world.
Men, women, children, who are very similar to you and me, just born in different circumstances.  
I have heard many people talk down on international adoption, and it breaks my heart.  I have heard people say that it should be banned, I have heard people say "if they were born there, than that is where they belong" I have heard things like this said from people who aren't religious, but also people that are.  I think adoption is a beautiful thing whether it is domestic or international.  Every child deserves a home.  This post wasn't supposed to be about adoption so I will make this quick.  Children everywhere need to be loved, they need a safe place to be themselves, a place to call home, and an opportunity to succeed.  If you can take a child out of any place where they are at high risk for starvation, child prostitution, or human trafficking, than why not.  And Christians, I am calling you out, being a Christian and being a patriotic U.S. citizen do not mean the same thing.  Your political party doesn't mean you are a Christian either.  Let's look at one of the most popular of Bible verses, John 3:16 "For God so loved the WORLD he gave His only begotten son." If God didn't claim only one group of people why should we? Oh how about this verse? 1 John 3:17-18 "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."  When we shut out those in other parts of the world we are shutting out our brothers and sisters "closing our hearts" to them.  
This verse does not only apply to adoption.  Look at the products you purchase daily; chocolate, coffee, clothing.  We never really think about where it really comes from.  But take a look a chocolate, it all starts from a cacao tree, there has to be farmers to harvest the pods and pick the seeds, but who are the farmers?  Big companies like hershey, get their chocolate from places that use child labor to farm the chocolate, so when you purchase hershey chocolate, you are hurting the farmers that do it the right way. The typical  mindset is "Fair trade is too expensive." We say that because we are in a society that puts quantity over quality. We may know that there is child or forced labor involved, but we keep that distant, we just don't think about it.  We are more focused on what we want and getting at the best price.  We are all about more more more.  What about those clothing stores that sell super cheap but fashionable clothing? Why do you think they can sell a top for $15 and still make profit? They pay next to nothing for it, because the person who farmed the cotton, or knitted the fabric was paid nothing, or next to nothing. 

I did not intend for this to be such a long post, but there is so much that could be said.  We have to look at the big picture.  We can't shut off the rest of the world, because we need the rest of the world. We need it for our chocolate, our coffee, our fabric, our fuel.  We may have a lot to offer in this country, but we cannot do this alone.  We cannot close our hearts to those around the world, we need to build them up.  When purchasing fair trade, you are helping a mother or father  send their children to school, pay for medical treatment, put food on the table.  Purchasing fair trade does more then when you donate money.  Fair trade is job creation.  It gives people purpose, makes them realize their value.  Fair trade is even a benefit for the environment.  

But this isn't just about purchasing fair trade products.  I want us all to get better about loving people.  I for one am such a whiner, I forget how blessed I am.  I focus way to much on comfort and safety.  I think it is time for me to get out of my comfort zone and love on people.  I am way more comfortable keeping my distance and staying in my own little world.  But outside my comfort zone is where all the excitement happens. 

When I look at the big picture, I see that I am overwhelmingly blessed.  I really have nothing to complain about.  I have been lazy and complacent.  I watched this little clip and realized how selfish I am.  This girl is so excited that she has a mattress and I complain because I need new throw pillows to match my new duvet from pottery barn. 

Let's stop closing our hearts to our brothers and sisters around the world.  Let's start looking at the big picture