Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poverty vs. Prosperity

My husband is a home inspector.

Last weekend he took me to see one of the homes he inspects for a credit union.

Ummm, can you say GINORMOUS?!

The garage alone was BIGGER than the main floor of the home we are renting!

And it came equipped with a home theater room.

A Swimming pool.

A tennis court.

A basketball court.

And 9000+ square feet to spare!

It has a cool price tag of 1.9 million – (that’s a one point nine with SIX zeroes behind it).

And just for the record, I really liked the kitchen!!  It would be such a great fit for eight hungry kids!  But it was the TWO dishwashers that I felt was a little over-the-top!

But honestly, as I walked around and around and around this unloved, vacant, “Hello, I’m Burning-a-hole-in-the-credit-union’s-pocket” single-family dwelling, I know that even if I did have two million buckaroos, I definitely wouldn’t spend it on a house!

First of all, I probably would lose my children - FOR WEEKS AT A TIME - in a house that big!

Secondly, I’d have to hire a housemaid, a butler, a pool guy, a window washer and then, on top of that, someone else to change the light bulbs in those ceilings that were a good 30 feet up.

Thirdly, I really couldn't afford running five (you counted right 1-2-3-4-5) central air conditioners.

And finally, when is enough - ENOUGH?? 

Contrast that with our fieldtrip/tour to the Humanitarian Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This wonderful, incredible place on earth takes the excess of a small spot of earth and gives, literally, to thousands upon thousands who have little or nothing.

Here are pounds and pounds of clothing sent from the donation centers to be sorted and shrink wrapped and tagged, ready for immediate shipment.

Here are the bags and bags and bags of shoes on pallets.  Ready to be shipped off as well.

And all of these things - THINGS THAT I THROW AWAY - or deem unnecessary, too small, too ugly, too ill-fitting, too "out-of-fashion," are given to people in places or countries who have currently have no indoor plumbing, let alone a swimming pool. . .

Or no place to get a toothbrush or a blanket, let alone six full bathrooms.

Or no pillows or beddings for a bed . . .. .

Maybe, just maybe lucky enough to have 10 square feet of private living space . . .

And when they get a shipment of a 100 pound bale of clothes or shoes - including that blue shirt and khaki pair of pants I gave to the D.I. because my boys were complaining they didn’t like the color - they find joy in the little.

When I complain about a lot!!

Recently I came to understand that even hundreds of years ago this, too, was the plague of the people.

The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, was concerned about the “inequality” that he saw just among his own people, the Nephites:

For Alma "saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were thirst, and those who were sick and afflicted. Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people" (Alma 4:12-13).

And I believe what Alma found heartbreaking among his people is a concern among us today! President Thomas S. Monson shared his Alma-like thoughts this way in the November 2009 General Conference:

       "Often we live side by side but do not communicate heart to heart. There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out, 'Is there no balm in Gilead?'

       "I am confident it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. At baptism we covenanted to 'bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.' How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that 'oh, surely someone will take care of that need.'
       "We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the 'thick of thin things.' In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.
       "Many years ago I heard a poem which has stayed with me, by which I have tried to guide my life. It’s one of my favorites:
I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.
     "My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us."


  1. I appreciate you bringing these things up. They are always at the forefront of my mind. It's hard to make decisions for you and your family when so many others are doing it the worldly way: whether it's in worldly goods, media, whatever. Lately, I haven't even cared about the items in my house, along with my house. Just start over and set myself right with God. But we'll try to find a happy medium.
    Sorry about my last rant/comment; that week was a hard one, hit the bottom. Heavenly Father might've answered a prayer or two, though. We'll see.

  2. Hi, Darla. I'm Sherri's sister, Amy, and I found your blog through hers. I've enjoyed visiting you and your faith-filled blogs and wanted to say thanks for your strength, honesty, and goodness. Thanks also for this wonderful and inspiring post. The humanitarian center is a "put-it-all-into perspective" kind of place. What a blessing.
    And I love the quote by President Monson. It is true--there are so many around us in need, so many who are not easily recognizable, who may need someone to get them through the moment, or need to know they are not alone and don't have to carry their burdens alone. To be like He is, to do as He would do, this is true joy.
    Thanks again for giving so freely.