If you were born in the United States, do you ever feel guilty about it?
I know. That’s a silly question. Right up there with…
- Do you feel guilty about who your parents are?
- Do you feel guilty for your physical appearance?
- Do you feel guilty for your talents?
The list could go on and on.
Life involves a number of things we have little or no control over. That’s equally true for the people I met last week in Nicaragua. They didn’t choose to be born in Central America’s second poorest nation, yet the one that’s richest in natural resources. And they probably can’t conceive of our wealth as Americans without seeing in first-hand any more than I could conceive of their poverty just from reading facts about Nicaragua on the Internet.
One of the things the mission team I was on did was to distribute food packets and Bibles to needy families. We drove on the bumpiest of dirt roads to reach their communities. We saw miles and miles of worse roadside litter than I’ve ever seen in the United States. We saw the most undernourished dogs and horses.
We saw houses our neighborhood associations wouldn’t have approved of. Some were just plain cinderblock. Others were an assembly of scrap pieces of sheet metal. Sheet metal roofs were often held down by large stones.
Some houses—better to refer to these places that were no larger than one of our single-car garages as shacks—had no doors; some doorways were covered with fabric. Few had kitchens or bathrooms, and the bathrooms we saw were the most basic of outhouses.
Although many of the shacks had access to electricity, their owners didn’t have much in the way of appliances. And the people in some areas didn’t have access to safe drinking water.
Are you feeling guilty yet? You shouldn’t. You didn’t choose to live in the United States or to enjoy a level of affluence that would make you seem wealthy to many of the people of Nicaragua.
Even Jesus said we’d always have the poor. But He also told us to care about them and to try to help them. What can you—what can WE—do to help?
Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”
By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.
Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I revise and re-post a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.