I am struggling to fall asleep tonight. I finished that last post, shut down my computer, and settled into bed. But all I can hear are the sharp barks and cries of street dogs fighting. I tried to focus on the gradual shift of mucous from one side of my face to the other (the joy of allergies), but that inability to fall asleep gave me too much time to think.
I started to think about the little kids I know that sleep on the street. I hoped that they were safely away from the fighting dogs. Not likely. Safely away from biting rats. Not likely. Safely away from racing cars, groping hands, pain-numbing drugs, empty stomachs. Not likely. I pulled my blankets up around my head because the nights get cold here. I wondered if that family has enough blankets. Not likely. What am I doing here? What am I doing with my lap top computer, wireless internet, a closet full of clothes, and at least 6 bags solely designed to carry things?
Sometimes, I can convince myself that I can and should have all of these things, all this money, and it not really matter as long as I realize that they ultimately belong to God. I tell myself that having nice things is good. There’s nothing wrong with it. And it’s true. I can’t really even find an argument for it’s rightness or wrongness. All I know, is that tonight, with the street dogs barking outside, there are few things more irrelevant in the world than the bulk of my possessions. What makes me different? Why am I entitled to this life of protected luxury and those sweet children relegated to sorting through my trash? I have no rights. No predestination to comfort. There is something remarkably wrong with this picture. I’m not saying I’m throwing my computer out tomorrow. Although, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t, I just don’t want to. I’m only sharing with you my thought process tonight.
I shouldn’t be shocked that the sweet puppies I see snuggling on the side walks grow up to be the snarling dogs I hear outside. I shouldn’t be surprised that begging children carrying drugged babies might become exploiters to the next generation. These children barely stand a chance. If they survive childhood, in all likelihood, the life waiting for them is only filled with more toil and struggle. What would I do? I would probably sniff the first glue-soaked rag I could get my hands on. Just forget. Just dull the reality, and it becomes doable. I’ve never known this desire. My reality, my experiences, are almost always savored. It’s not that we’re called to destitution, but neither are they. So, something must change. Something has to be different.
I walked past that family tonight. The little girl (I confess, she’s my favorite) was standing on the sidewalk, watching her mom cook. I stopped to chat for a moment, and the mom just said, “Bhat korechi” (making rice). I laughed and said, “Yeah, me too, I’m going to make dinner at my house” in an effort to connect with them. She motioned with her head to the tall white buildings behind her and said, “Your house is there? In a building?” “Yes. In a building.”
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