Are you visiting from J.R.’s Love is What You Do? Welcome.
I write about the kingdom of God. About motherhood. About books.
I pray that the kingdom comes down to my own bit of Pennsylvania countryside.
I try to pay attention when it does.
J. R. Goudeau is a PhD candidate in English literature. When I was a PhD candidate in English literature, I used my spare time to lounge senseless on the sofa while my husband bathed and bedtimed our young kids. J.R. also has young kids, but she has used her spare time to found and direct Hill Country Hill Tribers, a nonprofit helping to support the skilled artisans of refugee communities in Austin, Texas.
Yes, she’s amazing. I’m blessed to call her a friend. I’m blessed to be sharing this story at her place today.
Our refrigerator is a typical mess of grocery lists, crayon drawings, and expired coupons. In the middle of the mess is something more precious: the photographed faces of three young children. They are not family, not even friends, exactly. They live on three different continents, and we do not speak their languages. They are our sponsored children.
My daughter is writing a letter to the oldest girl. They share a birthday. This child has written to us that she loves to play ball. Also, the rains have been plentiful.
My daughter stops writing, looks up at me, and I see something like guilt in her eyes. “I’m glad we’re not poor,” she says.
I believe in the work of this sponsorship program. I believe in holding wealth with open hands. I believe in giving it away. But I worry about the unintended message these three photographs may be sending to my children, children who know their own faces appear on no one’s refrigerator but Grandma’s.
I wonder if these images in our kitchen are bridging a wall or building it up.
A wall distinguishing us from the poor.
A wall separating us from the poor.
A wall we only cross with dollars, cents, and the occasional letter.
Because we, thank you Jesus, are not poor.
You can find the rest of my story here.