Friday, September 21, 2012

The main focus is the highlighted area, but wanted to include the whole blog

From the book: My Luggage is Not Heavy  reflections on life & laying it down by World Harvest missionaries
author: Anneliese entry. Oct. 12, 2007


One striking difference between most Americans and my Babwisi neighbors is our source of security.

Have you ever noticed how many layers of security lie between many Americans and trouble? We have home insurance, health insurance, car insurance, life insurance...Insurance for our mistakes, others' mistakes, and catastrophes. And one of the first things we learn about what it means to be a responsible adult is that we start paying into the funds that provide security for us and our loved ones:  401 K's, mortgages, college funds, disability, Social Security, long term care. 

I really noticed this difference at a recent small group when I contrasted our sources of security to the Babwisis', summed up in a word----relationships. In a place where insurance policies do not exist and very few have savings accounts, relationships provide all this and more. 

As the family comes together for funerals, money is handed in to help for the burial costs and family care of the one who died. When a child is sick, extended family and friends pool resources to buy necessary medicine. And of course the old and those of have lost parents rely on the compassion and generosity of the family around them to care for them. Our part of Uganda currently has no orphanages, a testament to the strong traditional families within our villages...every child is cared for by someone. 

I met recently with a small group of women, discussing "stuff" and our complicated lives. I realized again how much our material possessions are a form of security that we as Americans depend upon so deeply. As we talked about simplifying our lives, many of us felt compelled to hold on to our things, "just in case..."

We're holding onto baby things in case we have another; holding on to extra toys in case our children want to play with them again, holding on to clothes that used to fit in case they fit again. We hold onto things that no longer work for our lives or homes because they provide security of a memory of a loved one, time, or place. 

Two of my closest friends were raised in other cultures and came to the United States as young adults with little to their names. Now both of their homes are spare; comfortable and liveable but without many of the accoutrements that we Americans find.....well....comforting.

Looking around, there is not much to do in these homes-----no big screen TVs with cable to watch or pool or Foosball tables to fool around on. The toys are few and well-loved.  In fact, if I think about it, there is precious little to do in these homes besides relate; cooking together, eating together, reading or working in the same spaces, enjoying the outdoors together, sharing the conflicts that rise out of boredom together! This is what happens in a simple home. 

Now I'm not criticizing insurance or big beautiful homes. I know that each of us can be convicted differently by the complex God we serve. God is often honored in abundance and good stewardship. Both material possessions and bank accounts holding the solutions to some future crisis are meant as gifts from a Creator who knows our real joy and security will only be found in a relationship with Him. 

Every joy of our remarkable lives as blessed inhabitants of a developed country speak of the One who holds it, and us, in His hands---just as He holds in His hands each person in my small village of Bundimalinga who is the insurance, retirement, and savings account for his neighbor.  And just like us, each of those neighbors' greatest delights will be found in each other and in Him. 


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