Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fingers and Toes, Hands and Feet



Two weeks old! It's been a busy few weeks - we've tried to spend as much time as possible at home (I like home - there's no time, no appearances, and no unsolicited advice) but we've ventured forth a few times, and as a result she has now met all of her great-grandparents (a grandma and a grandpa on Adam's side, two grandmas and two grandpas on mine). But she's starting to get a little more consistent in eating and sleeping times, and I'm (finally!) allowed to drive again, so we'll probably plan an adventure soon. I suspect it will involve knitting.


Not that I've gotten a whole lot of knitting done lately - she likes to have a hand to hold while she sleeps, and it's so darned cute that I let her. It just means that my activities are restricted to what I can do one handed while sitting still.


Reading, thankfully, is one of those. I've been working through this summer's Table Talk books, trying to keep up even though I haven't been to the meetings. This week's book is When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, and I've gotten about halfway through it. It's inspiring and convicting thus far. They (for me, at least) redefined poverty: that because of the Fall, we are all experiencing poverty of being (god-complexes or low self-esteem), poverty of community (self-centeredness, exploitation/abuse of others), poverty of stewardship (loss of sense of purpose, laziness/workaholics, materialism), and poverty of spiritual intimacy (denying God's existence and authority, materialism, worshiping false gods/spirits). So, "Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings."


It reminded me of something that happened while I was leading the teen knitting club at the Library... An obviously pregnant high schooler came in, near the end of the meeting, wanting to learn how to make something for her baby. I condescendingly helped her get started, judging her in my heart as I did. But as I watched her struggle persistently through row after row, I was struck with conviction. I knew nothing about this girl - how dare I make assumptions about her and her life? Regardless of her circumstances, she had chosen to keep the child, thereby braving the flash judgements of everyone around her for the rest of her life, and what she needed in that moment was not my sweeping superiority but love and patient encouragement. So I stayed late, working with her until she had two squares about the same size, and showed her how to fold and sew them into a tiny pair of booties. She smiled as she balanced them gingerly on her palm, visibly pleased that she had been able to make something. I learned some things - about not making assumptions, about the value of being able to create with one's own two hands, about the importance of love and patience - things that I often forget and then have to re-remember.

When Helping Hurts addresses the materially wealthy's failing: assuming that material poverty is the fault of the impoverished and that throwing around some money and some stuff will fix their problems. But we're all broken, and in order for anything to be fixed we need to join together in a mutual journey toward repaired community. Instead of thinking that we alone are the hands and feet of Christ, we need to expand our hearts to invite those we would help to become a part of that same Body.

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