• Gleaning

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    I can hear them; the urgent passing of news down the clapboards of slums. I was unprepared for the desperation. Women with babes tied to their backs, children skeletons protruding, hope weary men. They crowed around as we hand out a one-week supply of rice, beans, garry and canned tomatoes. In five minutes everything is gone, a staggering number left wanting. I was awash in this sea of clamouring poverty. Being tossed by the need. I turn my hands to signal ‘empty’ and tears flow down a young women’s face, a baby clings to her hip. She came seconds to late. I cup her face in my hand, I dry her tears and promise her next week. Fear darts through my thoughts. Can I do this? Can I supply enough? People are still running, to catch the gleaning. We feed 42 and left hundreds. My body lurching with the weight of my soul. How can this be real? How can hundreds be turned away. Where will they go?

    Who’s field will they glean from?

    A familiar boy approaches, I laugh lightly “I have already given you food” “and there is none left”. “No madam, I come to thank you”. We walk the distance to the car together. I ask him where his parents are? He slows his pace, “Gone”! I slow my pace, “Are you alone”? “Yes”. I ask where he sleeps, afraid of his answer. He looks to his feet hiding his shame and I look to mine hiding my tears. I gather him in my arms folding our brokenness. I see him now, I sum him up as a mother, he is sharp and handsome and oh so young, he wears tattered clothing and no shoes, his eyes pierce with pain and his smile melts me. He tells me he will watch for me, that he will walk me to my car. I laugh and tell him he is a gentleman, he likes this. With a wave he runs off. My eyes linger on his disappearing form. Where does he run? Not to a mother or home not to warmth or comfort or hope. Will I find him here next week? Or will the fingers of poverty claim him?

    As always the driving away crushes me. Privileged enough to drive away. I leave my neighbours, my friends, and my family! I face the fear of feeding tomorrow’s needs. Hundreds will come. Do I have enough? Will my loaves feed the thousands? Will this meal fend the dark of night, the hollows of hunger, will this food fill the body with life? Will humble heads bow to Jesus’ yearning for his touch to turn their loaves into miracles, for the one ~ for the many?

    (The above photo was taken of a home that houses five ladies. This is in the parking lot near the slums.)