My friend Cari works in the slums of Uganda with orphans and 60 year old women who can’t read. I was reading her newsletter today and I had to read this about 4 times because it cut thru my heart. Read it slowly so you won’t miss what you’re supposed to catch. Try to picture it in color:
“Right now, both the literacy classes and the Bible studies meet in an open field under an avocado tree.”
OPEN field. UNDER. An AVOCADO TREE. 60 year old women. Some who have never attended school. [This is yet another reason that supports my pet peeve of people not driving places (like for Bible studies or fellowships or to be with friends), because it’s “too far away”]. My husband is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of these habits is being proactive. I think these Ugandans under the Avocado Tree are pretty proactive to me. Pretty determined. They will get places one day. Especially the 60 year olds. It’s pretty simple: you can’t read, you’re a woman who depends on other people, you never went to school or never finished, and now there’s classes under the avocado tree… what makes you stop trying? what obstacle seems too large? how easily do you give up? do you bust down closed doors or just think, oh well, it’s a closed door, it’s too hard to try…?
I just got a shot of determination all of a sudden! Because of the avocado tree and the determined women sitting under it in the heat. Which leads me to giving away my shoes. I know, how does this thought connect? I’ve been giving away my nice things lately. Because it doesn’t really hurt when you give away the things you don’t like anymore. I’m trying to simplify again. I don’t need flip-flops in all different colors. I need to finish all my body lotions before I buy another one. I have to wear all my nice clothes that have been hanging in my closet for ages, because I paid money for them! So I dress up for no reason at all. What if I get hit by a truck tomorrow? Here I’ve been waiting for a *special* day to wear these nice skirts and dresses? Good grief! Just wear it and look pretty. Today is special because anything could happen tomorrow. Life is not guaranteed. Turn off the lights when you’re not using them. Shut the tap water if you’re brushing your teeth. I recently actually started using the towel holders for our wet towels after we bathe, because having *decorative* towels on the towel holders that weren’t used suddenly felt insanely impractical to ME (i’m not calling you insane if you like decorative towels, because I love creativity and color in the home). Buy generic brands. Recycle. Switch to green energy-saving light bulbs. Save money so you can give a lot of it away to those who need it.
So let me jump around some more. I’m just thankful for all that I have. I’m thankful for a new job. Gas in my car. A rooftop over my head. HEALTH. Clothes that protect me from the elements. Food. A spare bedroom for people who need it. Opportunity to work. Health benefits. And so many more things…
I’m not saying that *things* are important or above people. But when I look around and see all those *things* that have been entrusted to me, that make my life easier and more comfortable, I have to give thanks to God for them, even if it seems silly. Because, if you’re not thankful for the little things, why would God give you big things to be entrusted with? Again- NOT that I’m aiming for big things. But you know what I mean. This is not about being materialistic, simply being thankful for even the darnest, stupid, little things that have been given to us as a blessing, in order for us to be a blessing to others. That’s the catch.
So today, I’m thankful for the cooler shade provided by Avocado trees.
God, life, and learning. All under an avocado tree. Oh joy!