Hard Questions

This morning, I was blindsided with some unbelievably hard questions from a distraught Sedaya, who is six years old.  She had asked for a drink of water and I had said yes, but asked her to wait a few minutes while we finished up our history lesson.  I don’t know if this having to wait triggered something for her (in our house the kids obviously can have water whenever they want, but she needed help to reach the cups).

Well after homeschool was done, she came to me and asked if she could talk to me.  She sat down and said, “mommy, the people they don’t have water or food and they die.  Maybe they don’t know Jesus.”  Ugh.  “Normal” kids don’t really think too much about people dying of starvation or from unclean water, but Sedaya knows all too well that it happens.  Here she is, in her little mind, thinking about the salvation of these people and worrying about them.  We talked about that a little bit and then she looked at me and said, “when you little girl, your mommy have food?”  Tears sprung to my eyes immediately and I felt the weight of this precious girl’s early years and the impact hunger will always have for her.  I explained to her that when I was a little girl, my mommy had enough food for us to eat, to which she replied, “and her can eat too?”  More tears.

I cannot imagine as a mother having to choose which of my kids to feed because there wasn’t enough to go around or feeding my kids tiny amounts and trying to hide from them that I was not eating myself to try to save them.  I cannot imagine as a mother knowing that my kids were going to bed with empty tummies and knowing that there was nothing I could do about it.  My heart aches for all the mothers around the world who are faced with this reality today.

Later, we talked a bit about how her first mommy loved Jesus and how I love Jesus and how Sedaya loves Jesus and how someday, she will be with both her mommies in Heaven.  She was happy about that, but it still was weighing heavily on her that other people who have no food don’t know Jesus.  She asked if we could add that into our homeschool prayer every morning.  I feel humbled that my six year old is asking me if we can pray for the people who don’t have food and water to find out about Jesus and to get food and clean water.

She told me some other things about her life back in Ethiopia and I mostly just cried.  She asked me why we have so much food in Canada when there is not enough food in Africa.  She cried about her mom.  She cried about her older brother, who at one point had saved her life.  She said to me, “I forgot to say thank you” and all I could say was, “he knows honey, he knows.”

I am glad that my kids have compassion for others.  I wish these hard questions had easy answers though.  I wish it were as simple as just sending some of our excess from Canada to Africa.  I wish it were as simple as the prayer of a child.  And maybe it is.  Or at least maybe someday it will be.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Puts things in perspective and makes one think!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Karen s on January 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

    How heart breaking.

    Reply

  3. I took my girls to a Christmas event where they were fundraising for Watercan. They have some good material at their web site. My youngest watched the promotional video and asserted quietly, “Mommy, I drank dirty water in Ethiopia.” My eldest and I both just looked at her and said that we know that she did. I think it meant a lot to her to see that Canada knows about the issue, and that things can be done. Good post today. Thanks, Sharla.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Cindy on January 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    It starts with one. She is thinking & processing – her worldview will be used to impact many. Never doubt it.

    Reply

  5. Wow. What a weighted conversation. Thanks so much for sharing — would love to repost it on We Are Grafted In, if you would let me.
    Kelly

    Reply

    • Kelly – you can repost it. Do you want me to fix it up a bit before you do? I wrote it quickly when I was still affected by the emotion. Let me know if you want me to make it easier to follow and I can. -Sharla

      Reply

  6. Africa is beautiful, once you have lived there, it leaves a permanent imprint on your heart. There is so much waste here and so much bounty that I am amazed even as a grown up person!! May God use Sedaya’s heart and pain in what she has experienced to open even grown up peoples eyes! She is one special girly!

    Reply

  7. oh, I left out an important part – Africa is beautiful but even in the most stunning African sunset there is an echo of pain that rumbles from the ground! I will always have images of hungry swollen bellies and I am sure more will come out with your girlie. It is so hard to explain why we can’t fix it, to a little heart of six years old!~ You are doing a great job, Sharla!

    Reply

  8. Posted by Elizabeth on January 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    She is so precious. I love how you told her that someday she will be in Heaven with both her mommies!! What a beautiful picture!

    Reply

  9. Oh man – that is heart wrenching. I have tears in my eyes.

    Reply

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