Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hunger

One of the ongoing themes during the Christmas season is helping those in need. In thinking about the needs that people have in the world and my almost total insulation from them, I was reminded of something that happened in our home a few months back. We were all having supper together and the conversation turned to rocks and dirt. My birth kids were making jokes about eating dirt and what it would taste like when K.D., who is five, said,

“This one, I try this one,” indicating with his hand that he had eaten some dirt before.

“You ate some dirt?” I asked.

“Yes, this one. Me so hungry, me try this one,” he said indicating again how he put the dirt in his mouth.

“Really?” I said.

“Yes, but this one no good,” he offered scrunching up his face and waving his finger back and forth in the air.

The conversation moved on and K.D. moved along with it as if nothing big had just been said. It was one of those matter-of-fact moments for him. It was just how life was.

Many young children in America put dirt in their mouths sometime in their lives out of curiosity. I assume I probably did it too when I was young. But few of us know what it is like to be hungry, truly hungry. This no-end-in-sight hunger is the sort of thing that leads a child to the point where he is willing to try anything, even dirt, to make the hungry feeling go away. And, after a brief delusional moment of hope as they place the dirt in their mouths, reality sweeps back in.

It is a sobering thought that many children across the world will be putting dirt into their mouths today trying to make the hungry feeling go away. It causes me to pause and to wonder if I am doing enough for them. I don’t know if I can ever do enough, but I realize that I can always do a little more.

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