blessings, gratitude, hope, humanity, Love, Magnify the good

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

In case you didn’t know, today is National Peanut Butter Day in the U.S., and to celebrate I ate peanut butter sandwich.  Why should anyone care about this obscure holiday, you ask…  Well for me it is significant because it is a reminder to pray to know that the world’s children have all they need at every moment. To know that divine Love is meeting their every need, and caring for them.  That as the reflection and image and likeness of their divine Parent, they come with infinite supply of good.

i5Each year on this day I pause to remember this and to pray in this way specifically for the children in Zambia, Malawi and elsewhere, struggling with malnutrition and a seeming lack of supply, and for the organizations such as Every Child Fed (ECF), whereI worked as the Country Director for Zambia, and their partner organization Project Peanut Butter (PPB).  These organizations help supply an enriched peanut butter paste to children who are suffering from severe malnutrition.

When I was embarking on this journey to work to support children in this way, it was not helpful to see the children as lacking anything – food, health, care – but instead to know that each idea of Life, Love, God is whole and complete, coming with its own supply – like an acorn that already includes the leaves, bark, branches and roots of a tree all within itself.   I find it helpful to know that Love is our true source of supply, and that it is constant, consistent, limitless, infinite and eternal…  this is true for everyone… the children in Zambia, as well as US government workers during the shutdown, and anyone else feeling a sense of lack or insecurity.  As Mary Baker Eddy states in her inspired text

Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.

She goes on to say, “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”[1]Jesus demonstrated the ever-presence of supply by multiplying the loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes… and there were baskets left over!  (see Matthew 14:13-21)

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But how do we feel and know that our supply will be there when everything points to the contrary… I have found in my experience, that a change in thought can help.  Rather than seeing lack everywhere, we can shift our perspective with gratitude for what we DO have…  Just as in the example of the loaves and fishes, Jesus gave gratitude first… “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied…”[2]

kid w rutfHow can we feel that sense of being satisfied with what we already have and grateful for it?   Mrs. Eddy puts it this way,

“Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.”[3]

I have found that supply for the next thing doesn’t seem to show up until I get grateful for what I already have.  When I pause and assess what I do have, and give gratitude for all the good that is present in my life, it has a magnifier and multiplier effect… and more good comes in.. like attracts like… so seeing the good already present, attracts more good to come in.  (You can check out a previous blog I wrote on supply and the power of gratitude for more on this idea… )

So today, let’s celebrate all the good… and understand our true source of supply, for ourselves and everyone, especially children… and to that, I will raise a jar of peanut butter!

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*Note: all of the photos I took while working in Malawi and Zambia with ECF and PPB

[1]Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 494

[2]Matthew 14:18

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 3

humanity

Soccer breaks through barriers

FIFA World Cup soccer (or football as most of the world calls it) is one of my favorite events and I look forward to it every four years.  This year, while I was telling my five-year old nephew about it, I pulled out an old atlas and found a map of the world.  I showed him where all the countries were that were playing that day, and that they were coming from Australia and Peru, which were on opposite side of this particular map, and meeting in Russia which was kind of in the upper middle of the map, and then I pointed to all the other countries from Senegal to Iceland to Saudi Arabia and South Korea.  We talked about how amazing it was that people from all over the world, who speak different languages and have different cultures and customs come together in one place, just to play soccer together!  Our conversation got me even more excited about the whole event, and I felt a bit of child-like wonder that it could happen at all, especially in today’s climate where some of the countries don’t always play well together when it comes to politics.

The idea that soccer can be an equalizer and even community builder, and that people who speak different languages can come together to play reminded me of a few times when I’ve used soccer as a way to connect with others who I couldn’t otherwise communicate with, particularly children.  One example was when I was working in a refugee camp in Thailand for refugees from Burma.  I was in an area of the camp where many children stayed alone because their parents were either still in Burma, in Thailand trying to find work, or who had died in the conflict.  Most of the children spoke little or no English.

Often, the boys would come together on a soccer pitch, that was really a patch of rocky dirt, put a couple of markers down on either end for goals – sometimes a sandal, other times a shirt – and just play.  A few lucky ones had gotten cleats or boots from an aid worker or volunteer, but most played barefoot.  Having played soccer in the past, I decided to join them.  Since I didn’t have anything but sandals, I too played barefoot.  Initially I was not totally accepted, but after I got the ball once or twice and was able to make a few plays, they let me join in anytime.  I enjoyed playing with them often.  We couldn’t communicate through words but we had soccer.

I found this to be a useful tool again when I was in a remote village in the dry dusty plains of the Western Province of Zambia.  During a field Soccer 2visit to this part of the country, I had the opportunity to spend the night in the village.  There was a translator on the trip because no one from this area spoke English.  There were many children around, and it appeared they did not get too many visitors that looked like me.  Some were Soccer 1curious, others seemed a bit nervous.  One had a “ball” made of bunched up plastic grocery bags bound with string and was showing off his juggling skills bouncing it from one knee to the other.  Once when he dropped it and it rolled my way.  Much to his amazement, I scooped it up with my foot, juggled it a few times and then kicked it back to him.  From there, he and I and several other children spent the next hour running around playing soccer.  There was plenty of laughter and comradery.

What makes these experiences meaningful, was not the game, but the love and joy and kinship and laughter that was shared.  It was this love that spoke to each other, connecting us heart-to-heart, when words were meaningless.  Though it was challenging conditions, and I was surrounded by seeming lack, loss and suffering at times, it was in this remote dusty village and that isolated camp in the mountainous jungle, where I saw that the power of love can break through any barrier even that of language.  Perhaps it was the love of the game, the sheer childlike joy and love of play, the shared laughter, but I think these are expressions of a larger more encompassing Divine Love that is embracing each and every one of us each moment.Soccer 4