This I Believe
I worked for the my political organization on the election this year. People from a variety of interest groups joined together in a union hall to make phone calls and walk the neighborhoods, speaking with “folks” and hanging literature on door knobs. I admired how well organized this action was. Most everyone was cheerful and cooperative, even as they went out to walk in the rain.
Sandwiches, big shiny red apples, bottles of water and cans of pop had been supplied by the organization leaders for the taking. In the afternoon, someone from the Sierra Club asked for help with recycling. Although there was a box in which to place bottles and cans for recycling, few had bothered to do so. It didn’t take long, in picking through the trash, to discover what had been thrown away. Whole ham and turkey sandwiches, still in their original wrappers, those perfect apples, without so much as a bite out of them, and of course, the ubiquitous bottles of water and cans of pop, some still full.
My church has a sister church in Romania. Some of our members have visited this church in the mountains, and it’s little village of four hundred souls. Our church collects money to send to this village. The village pastor wrote a letter of thanks; through our donations they can now supply each elderly member with one loaf of bread each week. The elderly, with annual pensions equivalent to $360.00 or less each year need to spend 12% of their pensions just to buy that weekly loaf of bread.
It doesn’t take great imagination to see the cruel irony here. Food is not a right in which all can take part. We who are so accustomed to having more than enough to eat begin to lose our humanity when we ignore the needs of humankind in other circumstances and places.
As I write a check for bread for this Romanian village, I think of those sandwiches and apples in the trash. Awareness of and respect for others, and for the earth and all it holds is being lost on many of us, even the most well meaning. In my heart I know that if we do not begin to respect the gifts of our planet, as well as our brothers and sisters on it, we are bound to suffer the consequences. This I believe.
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