Friday, September 11, 2009

What is my responsibility?

Someone asked John when we got home if we felt "guilty" about our life now that we are back. Interesting question. One I might have asked someone that had gone. One I thought I would have answered "yes" to before the trip. But guilty is the wrong word. Do I feel guilty that I have a toilet, water, food, education for my children, a home with more than one room, excellent health care, sanitary living conditions, a car, drive on smooth roads and interstates that can safely carry me all over the Twin Cities and the country. And best of all know that everyone in my extended family, friends and people of my community are enjoying those same luxuries. Do I feel guilty about all of that? It is what the people of Kitui dream of, should I feel guilty for having what they want? Maybe some would, but I don't. Yet there is a feeling. I feel very blessed by being born in this country and having the life I live today. I did before and more so now. But that isn't the right word either. It doesn't encompass my feelings about the people of Kenya and the poverty I saw. I believe the word for how I feel is "responsible".

I feel responsible to use my wealth appropriately. Responsible to look outside myself and see the rest of the world. Responsible to help those in need. Responsible to give more of my time, talents and, yes, money. Of course these aren't new thoughts. I have always wanted to be able to do that, but I don't always do that. I often want to give more. I hear of needs among friends, I meet missionaries in need of funding, friends going on missions trips, needs in Kenya.

I want to be generous but we live our lives thinking and planning for our needs only, not others. I want to wear a better brand of clothes, get my hair done more often, take more trips. I want a shed in my backyard, new siding on the house, professionally designed landscaping, a bigger master bathroom,... Because I want those things I will plan for them, save for them and someday have them. But do I plan to help others? Yes I give to my Church but I am talking beyond that.

The word for how I feel is "Responsible" and the question I keep asking myself is, "Am I using my wealth responsibly?"

Sitting in her living room.

Standing in front of the home where she is raising 7 children.

Entertaining guests on the "front porch".

The bathroom

Growing up in the slums.

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