Living Below The Line Challenge – After Thoughts

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The beloved Thich Nhat Hanh was once asked:
“What do we most need to do to save our world?”
Those questioning him probably expected him to
share specific strategies to pursue. But instead
he answered: “What we most need to do is to
hear within ourselves the sounds of the Earth crying.”

Yesterday I completed the 5 day challenge to live below the poverty line
that is the daily experience for 1 billion people on earth. For me, this
challenge opened up a greater awareness of the obstacles people
living in poverty must face every day. It made me grateful for everything
I have – without taking anything for granted. It inspired me to use my
imagination to creatively find ways to live with less – so that more can
be shared with those in need. It kept me in reliance at a deeper level
of Holy Presence, moment by moment.

But the greatest gift from this challenge is the re-affirmation that our
greatest joy in life is found through loving and serving one another in whatever way we feel called to put love into action. Whenever I listen deeply through the silence ~ the words I hear coming through the Spirit are:

“My people are crying, you need to help them.”

That is the challenge I continually take into my Christ Path.
And let me tell you, it is not a burden at all . . . it is JOY found
in the gift of a life lived to its fullest, in the power of a Presence
greater than ourselves . . . it is the purpose and the passion
for which each one of us is created . . . and the fruit that it bears
is for the healing of the world.

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Live Below The Line Challenge – Day 2

I’m sharing some reflections from yesterday’s experience living on $1.75 for the day.

It’s 9am of Day 1. I’m starting to feel hungry. I’m beginning to feel a bit faint and loss of energy. I’m cooking the pea soup, and I’m getting really
impatient to eat it. The aroma is enticing and I realize how difficult it must be for homeless people to smell foods that are cooking in restaurants and know that they will not be able to eat a meal.

Our son once basically lived on 1 Subway sandwich a day. He never complained, so we didn’t know this was his reality. When one has severe health issues, life gets complicated. Today I have a new awareness of the times he would say: “Mom, I just crave to have some of your home cooking once again.” How often do those Living Below The Line ever get to experience a feast of food?

9:45am I just realized I forgot to make hummingbird food. I had planned to make it first thing this morning, but it never crossed my mind. They will be ok. We put up an extra feeder last night, so they can feed there.
I’ve been so focussed on my own needs and finding food for myself, I neglected to care for these little birds that are so dear to me. Ah, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So this is why so many people seem unconcerned about the Bigger Issues of life . . . their own basic needs have not been met. It’s not even possible to look to the broader picture of our planet
unless one’s own needs for food, clean air and water, and safety are met.

11am My pea soup was ready. When I first tasted it, it was tasteless.
Bland, unappetizing, Blah. I added some of the herbs I had gathered and that helped some. (rosemary, sage, oregano, parsley and celeriac)
What it really needed was salt. Salt helped a great deal and made it
quite tasty actually. But many people in the world would not even have access to herbs, spices, and salt. Then one would have to eat just to ease the hunger – without the enjoyment of food that we take for granted.
Oh how fortunate are we in the world of plenty!

2pm At noon I sat and ate a tiny salad of greens with a bit of olive oil.
It was hard to watch my husband eat a full meal of delicious food items.
It was hard to cook for him when I couldn’t eat what he could eat.
It reminded me of children throughout the world who must sit and watch as their classmates enjoy hearty school lunches and they have very little or none at all. I’ve forgotten to remember to give to the Red Cup program that provides at least one meal a day for millions of children throughout the world. How did I ever stop giving to that great cause? I shall begin again today.

After “lunch” I had to rest awhile. I feel listless and unmotivated to do much of anything. All I can think of is hunger. The people of Nepal are constantly on my mind. The people crossing the Mediteranean Sea or in refugee camps in Syria, or struggling still in so many Middle Eastern countries . . . the BILLION people who live below the line at less than $1.00 a day throughout the world are on my mind and in prayers.
I am tired and hungry but at least I have a warm place for shelter.
I have clean water to drink and I know that I still have some food that
I can eat later in the day. How grateful I am for all that I have.