A Cup of Rice
I made a great dinner last night. Lovely grilled ocean trout with wilted greens and a lime soy dressing served on a bed of rice. Masterchef eat your heart out. (Even my three year old scraped her plate clean!) After enjoying our meal, my hubby and I put the kids to bed and cleaned up. As usual I just tossed out the leftover rice because there wasn’t enough for another meal, and in all honesty I couldn’t be bothered coming up with something creative to do with the amount left. I thought nothing of it and started opening the mail. The first letter was from Compassion, and it just about smacked me across the face.
It should have been a feel-good letter. It was thanking us for a recent donation to assist with the current global food crisis. But I didn’t feel good. I felt guilty. The letter opened with a quote from a mother in Nicaragua who said, “Many blessings have come in moments when we most needed it, like someone showing up with rice…” Yep, rice. And I had just chucked our leftover rice out because I was lazy.
Right at that moment the world seemed horribly wrong to me. How is it that one mother considers a cup of rice an answer to prayer, while another tosses it into the rubbish? How is it that one family earns so little that they can’t feed their children a single simple meal, while another earns so much that they eat five times a day, every day?
Making the donation didn’t impact me, but the stark contrast between the way two mothers view rice did. I was glad that I felt bad, if you know what I mean. That unsettled, uncomfortable feeling is what makes us take action. God trusted us with this world and I don’t know that we’ve done such a good job with it.
I’m certain that the next time I cook rice for my family I’ll be thinking about that mum in Nicaragua. I’ll talk to my daughter about the child we sponsor through Compassion, and about the way we can change the world one child at a time. And when we say grace, we’ll pray for the kids with no rice and with empty tummies. Maybe if we show our kids what’s wrong with the world, they’ll do a better job than we have of making things right.