Posts tagged purpose

Priorities

It’s been a while since this site has seen any traffic. That’s what happens when the owner is wearing about 26 different hats, juggling everything from motherhood to spring cleaning (both inside and out) to a kitchen renovation. Throw in starting up a small business in her spare time, and blogging drops down to the bottom of the heap. And therein lies the inspiration for today’s blog. My life consists of yardwork, homework, housework, (and very seldom) paid work. Sometimes there’s room for some rest, but almost never in large quantities. For most of us living in the developed world, this probably describes what occupies 80% of our time. (For those of us who have no dishwasher, that figure might rise to 85%.)

It all seems so right until we start looking a little beyond our borders to see what’s occupying the time of much of the world’s poor: scavenging for food, scraping together enough materials to establish some kind of shelter, begging, caring for dying children. The contrast is stark.

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the underdeveloped world lately. Last week I met a missionary surgeon who left a successful group practice 8 years ago to apply her skills at an under-staffed clinic in northern Ecuador. Her job description involves laparoscopic surgery, banana harvesting, cyst removal, grass cutting with a machete, foot amputations, goat milking, and directing a clinic in which she is the only trained medical professional.

I just finished reading a book by a couple who, upon receiving their PhDs, took off to war-torn Mozambique in the 80’s to take in orphans who had been living in the most inhumane conditions with unimaginably broken pasts. Judging by the Baker family picture, they themselves have adopted around 20 children (in addition to their own two). Take that, Brangelina.

Then there was the Mennonite surgeon, Dr. Frank Duerksen, whose book, Mission with Passion was another eye-opening read. His work among the ostracized leprosy patients of South America and Ethiopia is extremely interesting and inspiring. He poured his life into becoming a world-class surgeon who rubbed shoulders with people whom the rest of the world didn’t want to touch. He spent his time dispelling myths about leprosy, performing reconstructive surgery to those ravaged by the disease, and traveling to remote corners of the bush to connect with those who needed a doctor. Perhaps my favourite story was the one of him delivering a breached baby (butt-first) by moonlight in the back of an oxcart on a cold night.

So where does that leave me? Why do I have the privilege of being well-fed, and living in a middle-class neighbourhood in Canada? I do not think that we all need to leave our lives and join the poor in the slums. But are we even aware of them? Are we so busy with our work and leisure that we’re not even aware of the plight of 80% of our brothers and sisters? What are our bank statements saying about where our money’s going? Is any of it making a difference in the life of even one poor person?

I’m coming to the realization that I can chose to be a cog in the wheel that turns to level the playing field for the world’s people. I was put here to serve a greater purpose than just to support the status quo with my money and my time. Just this morning I read an anonymous quote with which I’ll end:

            “Don’t pursue – don’t even dabble with – the seemingly safe, self-focused, self-satisfying route that our society…affirms and rarely questions. Living half-hearted and with regrets should be the thing that scares us most.”

 

           

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