to be an american

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I bought a $3 globe at the Salvation Army.

A plastic student model with the gray tape that served as the equator dangling limp over Australia.

I hoped that the equator was not holding the two hemispheres together.

At home my eye latched on to the familiar shaped mass, pumpkin orange in color and labeled: AMERICA.

My eyes wandered south trying to find Columbia.

After a moment or two of searching the peninsulas of Central American I found Columbia.  It is actually is South America, its unfamiliar shape leaf green in color.

Columbia’s top most northern region curves like an elf hat.  Its shores share the same blue Caribbean Sea as the tiny dotted islands that so many vacationing Americans love to stay.

I did not know that.

It takes me much longer to find the pinky finger sized country of Togo. Colored Easter basket purple, one of many countries that make up the very unfamiliar geography of “the dark continent”.

The national language of Togo is French.

I do not know why.

I spent so much time just gazing at that falling apart plastic globe.

My ignorance of world geography being made clear and clearer still:

the looming sense that America is not the center of the world.

I spent the majority of the decade of my twenties trying to survive carrying, breast-feeding, getting up at 3am with, keeping dry, keeping clean, keeping clothed, keeping safe

our own four daughters.

A year ago, two years into my thirties ( I love being in my thirties)

thin layers, a cell thick, began to be peeled from the protective gloss over my eyes, my heart, a flake at a time.

Apathy bled into empathy.

My four children are my whole responsibility, but should they be my sole concern, my sole heart beat, heart-break?

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Luis & Kokou.

Children of Columbia and Togo.

Sponsored by our family through the fantastic organization of Compassion International, whose website  makes it possible to change children’s lives forever more simple than down loading an App.

It has changed our family completely.

In a way that hurts. In a way that is joyful.

The time and money and effort we spend is pathetically minute compared to the time and money and effort we spend elsewhere.

My personal metamorphosis from apathy to empathy happened not because I am a good person, a bleeding heart liberal, a religious guilt- motivated Christian.

It happened as The Heavenly Father slowly inserted Compassion not guilt. An extended crook of an arm to Look not a finger-pointing to preach.

And now that is what I try to do with our four children.

To anyone that will listen.

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Linking up with the international crowd of photo enthusiasts at:

http://shadowshotsunday2.blogspot.com/

Come check it out or join in.

Cheers.

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One thought on “to be an american

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