Choice. What an amazing gift.

Many in this world don’t have it. Those that do, generally take it for granted. I know I do.

The choice to move, to vote, go to university, change job, choose what food I eat, what recipe to follow, even what church I go to, what bible app to download… I am privileged and yet I still complain.

The decision “oh what on earth are we going to cook this time?” should become “Wow what shall we cook?!”

bowlsJoen is 3, and part of his stage in life involves becoming aware of choice. One big way he is exercising this is in choosing which bowl he wants his dinner in. On a few occasions in the past few weeks he has refused to eat his dinner – because its on the wrong plate. Rather than change the plate, I’ve left him to grump until he gives in and eats his food.

Many children don’t even have the choice of whether they get to eat or not” rings in my mind, but he’s only 3, so what does he understand? That said, no matter how clichéd that line is, its true. Over the past few weeks, seeing images and video of families stranded on Mount Sinjar in Iraq – their desperation emphasises how far removed we are from suffering. I have no idea.

And now I’m moving to South Africa because I feel that is where God would like us to be. I’m hoping that our time there will make me see the community through God’s eyes. Does He see them as poor? Are we there to ‘help’? Or are we the ones that need help?!

Yes, I reckon he does want us to help, and use the gifts he’s given us, but that’s what he wants for all of us, wherever we are. The question of poverty is an interesting one. Do I think that our model of living is an aspiration? Probably not. It’s nice sure, but there is something about the simplicity of living which appeals to me, but maybe that’s just because again I have that choice. I’m going out, but ultimately I’m coming back.

We must remember that poverty as a means of spiritual perfection holds little or no appeal to those for whom there is no exit clause.

John Hayes
Sub-merge: Service, Justice and Contemplation Among the World’s Poor.

As I prepare my heart to go I am at peace – I feel this is where God wants us to be – but we need to be aware as we walk with others that they may not understand our choice; or may even resent it.

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