Perspectives of Memory

I’m starving! Let’s get something to eat!

These are phrases we say flippantly after a few hours without a meal.

Sitting in my fully-furnished home, drinking my electricity-produced cup of coffee, my mind wanders to distant lands, lands where children are the last to eat because the patriarchs and the matriarchs keep the family farm thriving so they must find sustenance first and because in some cultures children’s needs are not valued. There were children whose stomachs were bloated due to dysentery and malnourishment as they rummaged through my trash in Sub-Saharan Africa to find a morsel I threw away.

My thoughts stray to decaying, abandoned homes in the Middle East where sitting on floors I heard story after story of Syrian refugees who were struggling to provide meals for their families and were fearing the future of their country. Entire communities within Syria were being cut off from food supplies, and those who pursued refuge in other countries were quickly finding homelessness and hunger.

Stories, faces, and names—I will never forget them. People who had nothing. They lost everything to war or to a land whose drought wouldn’t produce crops. They’re people who have understood a pain and suffering that my First World, middle-class lifestyle’s toe has never dipped in the water of.

No. I am not starving. I have never felt the twinge of hunger pains or watched my children’s stomachs grow more and more round with infection due to lack of nourishment.

I thank God for the verses in Luke 12 that remind us that as He feeds the ravens and clothes the lilies, He cares for us.

I hold on to that hope, believing He sees a picture larger than the memories I see. I long for Him to provide for those whose photos we see in the news. He is promising us that we “will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NIV).

So we hold on to hope. We pray. Then we move to action—because we who were graced with much must turn to our neighbors and care for those who are in need.

Abi Khavari traveled the world, writing for a non-profit agency in the Middle East. She now lives in Colorado, got married recently, and is starting her Masters of Counseling this spring.

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