‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Litany of the Spoiled American

At home I might gripe about the grocery store not having my brand of bread,
Here I am grateful to have bread.

At home I'm prone to whine about the brief walk to my car in winter,
Here I am grateful I have a warm coat to help me make the 1/2 mile walk to the grocery store

At home, I was likely to complain if my fruit were bruised,
here I rejoice when I don't find a worm or maggot in it.

At home, I grumbled about the washer and dryer being in the basement instead of upstairs,
here I AM the washer and dryer.

At home, I didn't think twice about buying a starbucks coffee every morning,
here I think twice, three times, four times -- and I spend that money on food for hungry people instead.

At home, I felt sympathy for the animals in the local animal shelters,
Here I rejoice that our adopted strays survived another night of below zero temps outdoors.

At home, I could ignore the needs of others if I wanted to,
Here it is impossible.

At home, I knew all my needs would be met,
Here I wait on God to meet them.

At home, I was considered a selfless, kind person who did for others,
Here I realize I was just one more spoiled American.

One of far too many.


  1. LOL, I must admit I was often shocked when I'd visit USA and my cousins would yell in grocery store at some clerk for not having exact brand of whatever. I honestly though they were either spoiled or mentally unstable. For me it was unthinkable to be so rude to someone and make drama over such a trivial thing. But it's great how life can change overnight and give us reality check. I think much more people would start appreciate what they already have if they had some kind of wake up call.

  2. I agree we are spoiled, but I would also like to think of it as blessed.
    The effects of communism is not pretty. When we were adopting from Russia we would get into lengthy talks about it with our translators. It was quite interesting.
    I agree a lot of Americans are oblivious to the suffering of other countries, but we are also THE most generous country in the WORLD.
    I also think the Russians need to be more concerned with their underprivileged. They are very callous and indifferent to those members of their society.
    Without a heart change from their citizens and their culture, these things will not improve.

    I think and pray for you and the girls every day and can not imagine the hardships you are living through. Please be safe.

  3. This is one of the best essays I've read recently. I think it is part of why I loved being in Russia. We are stripped right down. It is a spiritual experience. Awakening.

    And my experience...knowing there would be a happy ending....knowing when I'd go home, was so safe compared to yours. You are being asked to rely so totally on God. I can hardly imagine it.....and all for a girl, precious YES! to God and to you, but a girl who is really oblivious of the sacrifice you are making for her. She has no way of understanding your danger, the precarious nature of your finances, how lonely and responsible you must feel. So she can't begin to understand what you are doing for her. Yet, that very precariousness and lonliness, does, I bet, help you understand what you are trying to do for HER. That state is all she knows.

  4. You sure opened my eyes with the comparison of the two countries. Every American should read this daily. I had no idea it was so horrible there. I especially like the "I am the washer and dryer". I very often think of my mother's day when she had to do laundry with her bare hands and a bar of soap. Things are going downhill in America and without God's grace could reach this stage.

  5. Maxim and I were just having a talk....he was saying to me that he thinks Americans are spoiled and don't realize their blessings. I told him about what you were doing and read him this post. I was so glad I could do that - it really affected him and enriched our conversation. He thinks you are heroic, by the way.

  6. I still think you are a selfless, kind person. I don't think you are a spoiled American, and I think perhaps what your sweet soul means instead of spoiled is "blind" - because we have it more than good but grumble, but that is because most of us *don't know* what it is to truly be in want. I think that is different from being spoiled. If you take away the ignorance and a person persists in their whiny, gimme gimme attitude - *then* that is a spoiled person.

    You? Never. You just didn't know.

    I've had to cut almost everything out - Starbuck? Ha! Wow that would be such an indulgence! Heck, buying brand name food or not always having to go to the "deli ends," "day-old bakery" and "reduced produce" racks would be nice...but hey, those things are actually luxuries so many don't have, and I know it! My needs are amply taken care of. Going to the movies? Buying clothing or books...new??? Not anymore. And I have my needs met and have little bits and pieces left to...pass along :-) I'm still so crazy blessed and I do forget that sometimes - I'm not envious of what others have on any regular basis, but once in a while I wish I could do better for Babs. Though he has learned to do without the meaningless bling - and I guess that's a good thing!


  7. Oh my goodness, this could have been my post in March! I remember getting all teary eyed one day at the grocery store because I found cheddar cheese...yes, orange cheese made the water works start! And the pure joy when I made something for dinner that was good!


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