Saturday, February 16

The First Gift

During Lent there will be three paychecks.

Yesterday was payday number one and yesterday I wrote our first check made out to no one (yet) for the amount we are giving away.  I set it on the dinner table and we all looked at it.  We prayed our Lenten prayer with it in our presence.

The check on the table is more milk, more bananas, more bread.  It's the frozen yogurt I would have treated them too.  It's the lunch we would have grabbed on our way back from our field trip; Chip's lunches with the set-up team on TNL nights. That check is the new pants I'm pretty sure I can't wait too much longer to get for my growing son.  It's the socks that the store was out of.  That check is the excess heat that I'm now turning down when I leave the house.  It's the miscellaneous stuff I toss on the credit card during the month .  It's the Kindle books for only 1.99, the Redbox movies, the good deals that came to my inbox.  It's the coffee mentoring meetings in which I bring my own tea from home.  It's the lunch with my husband using a cafe gift card from Christmas instead of that romantic Valentine's dinner out.

But it's also 19,217 Rupees.  The poverty level in India is 29Rs a day, 22Rs in rural areas.  But 30Rs a day doesn't make you any less poor.  And there are a bunch of people who have less.  I have 19,217Rs sitting on my table.  That's about nine months of basic utilities for an apartment (electricity, gas, water and trash).   It's 1600 bottles of water.  It's two years of college at Delhi University.  It is more than three and a half times the average monthly income.  

I can't wait to find out whose storyline will be impacted, changed, by this gift.  Maybe it will send a few women to beauty school to get out of the slum.  Maybe it will go to a hospital, a daycare center, an ashram.  I wish I could already know so my children could think of them when they are wishing they could buy the Star Wars game or the hands free microphone headset or the ice cream.   It's only the first week. I won't fool myself into thinking they'll stop making requests.

Today as I made dinner with leftovers from yesterday my youngest asked me, "Mom, are we writing another check for dinner?"   I smiled at his very big heart.  Not yet.  Soon.

{Giving Out of Poverty.  Lent 2013}

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