Dear God, thank you that we’re not orphans and that we don’t have to live in a cardboard box. Amen!
This was the prayer my children offered to God tonight before dinner.
I tried to contain my laughter and keep my demeanor steady and under control. After all, this was a prayer… one that, by all appearances, was a legitimate expression from my son’s heart. Laughter simply was not an appropriate thing at the time.
I’m not sure I succeeded.
Allison immediately wanted to pray. Her prayer was similar, though she added more about the orphans whose names she knew. Heartfelt, yes… but full of giggles.
After her “Amen!”, no one could help themselves. Massive giggling ensued. No one laughed hard enough to cry by any means, but the moment was a good one. Light-hearted. A good family moment we’ll treasure.
Nancy and I looked at each other once things calmed a bit.
Well, at least we know it was effective.
Orphan’s Table, that is.
If you’ve read what we’ve posted on our blog here recently, you’ll know we had planned an “Orphan’s Table” event at our home on Orphan Sunday. Though ultimately, we had to cancel it due to lack of interest (another story, one that was definitely frustrating for us), the preparations were clearly effective with our children.
You see, in the process of preparing for the Orphan’s Table event, we wanted to make sure that we had a good visual for people that would be attending. We obtained a MASSIVE amount of cardboard boxes from a friend’s business, and planned to “decorate” our basement with them. We wanted people to enter our basement for the event, instantly feeling as though they’d been transported to the home of a third-world family. A shack in a slum, floor lined with cardboard… walls insulated with the stuff. Maybe a single light bulb hanging down.
Ultimately, we scrapped that plan. Instead, in an effort to involve our children, we gave them an assignment.
Pretend you’re an orphan family of three. No mom. No dad.
You’re living on your own. Not in a house, but wherever you can find shelter. Use what you have in front of you to build yourselves a “home” that you’d live in if you were really orphans.
Don’t get me wrong… I don’t mean to trivialize the plight of orphans. I’ve not seen a shelter like this. This probably is anything but representative, having been built in a nicely finished basement by spoiled first-world kids.
But in involving our children, we hoped to give people an idea of just what kids might come up with.
You can see their shelter would hardly keep them warm in our 62 degree basement, let alone outside. Wholly ineffective to shelter them from wind, rain, cold. Something that probably wouldn’t even last a day.
But it’s what KIDS built.
Here in America, we’d call this a fort (in fact, that’s exactly what it’s become).
In a third-world nation full of orphaned kids? It might very well be a home.
A home inhabited by starving, diseased kids that need HELP to have HOPE.
So tonight, I’m both thankful and troubled. I’m thankful that through their role-playing, my children have a bit of an idea in their minds about what life as an orphan might be like. They don’t want to live in a cardboard box.
But I’m troubled that we may have inadvertently trivialized the fact that real kids ARE living in cardboard boxes, and that we may have made “orphan play” the new game at our home. (Yes… that’s something we’ll correct if / when it becomes an issue.)
Moreso, though, I’m troubled that there are real kids out there that need help.
I’m troubled that the majority of American Christians really don’t care enough to do something. After all, we’re the same people that spend $13 BILLION dollars annually on our pets, blissfully ignorant that this same amount of money could very well provide for the basic nutritional needs of most (if not all) of the world’s orphans.
So yes… we should be thankful that we’re not orphans, and that we don’t have to live in a cardboard box.
But we should also be compelled by this fact to do SOMETHING to help those that do.