We did it. For three days we ate rice and beans. I learned a lot during those three days. I discovered new ways to cook beans. I made my first lentil soup. My horizon was broadened and I realized ways I could cook much cheaper. And just when the kids had complained and cried and said "beans, again?!" almost creating a starvation riot, I set up a beans taste test and they ended up laughing and eating and having so much fun! The spiritual lessons were deeply written in my heart. Discipline, perseverance, staying the course in the midst of complaints and tears, emotions. I felt more that week than I have in a while. I would picture moms cooking for their kids, only having rice and beans and muttering words of thanks that they would get to eat that day, moms holding their starving kids while they wondered if they would make it through the time of hardship, and babies crying because they have no food. It makes our hard times seem not really hard at all.
But... I felt like we cheated. There were a few pieces of fruit around the house, I still had the luxury of coffee every day (and my mom even dropped off some special cream), we went out to celebrate my daughter's birthday, I added special things like onions and carrots and garlic to the soups, and we did make cookies one day for a friend. Even though the kids might have thought they were going to, no one starved. There was an abundance of food.
We grasped the reality of how many people in the World eat so much simpler than we do. In the rest of the world, they would not even think about waisting a single bite of their beans. They do not have luxuries like carrots, onions, and garlic, much less fruit, cookies and cream for coffee. There are still thousands upon thousands that die each day from hunger.
We prayed. I know those prayers sounded so much sweeter when coming from a place of deeper understanding.
And an idea was born. I want my girls to experience serving at a deeper level. We are praying for a family mission trip to go on.
Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I will think and thank a little differently this year.