A Much Greater Hunger

A small wooden desk sat in one corner.  A wooden bench without cushion for a chair.

A tiny bed, the size of a child’s, remains in an adjacent corner.  Between them, one window.

There’s very little on the plaster walls – always was I bet: a picture of a pope, a letter in a frame, a crown of thorns made by hand and meditated on daily in remembrance of the sacrifice love demands.

Peering silently through the iron bars, I took in every detail of the humble space Mother Teresa once lived and worked in. Teresa lived among the poor and like the poor she lived among, just as, she believed, Jesus once lived.  Most days she held the dying until they breathed their last.  She rocked orphans, prayed with the sick, and fed the hungry.  But even she, surrounded by the sight of poverty daily, recognized that poverty can’t always be seen.

She once wrote, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

I stood at her doorway this morning and remembered: This week – Compassion’s ministry – isn’t about finding wealthy sponsors to benefit poor sponsored children.  I think it’s about matching poor sponsors with poor children for the benefit of both.

See, I think we in the first world need those in the third world as much as – if not more – than they need us.  I need – we need – to know we’re wanted, that God loves us enough to give us meaning, to be unforgotten.

There are days when writing a check to Compassion International makes me feel my worth, writing a letter to a boy in Ethiopia makes me feel purposed and useful, praying with my kids for a little girl in El Salvador reminds me of God’s connection to and remembrance of us all.  These moments release me little by little from my own poverty.  They make me as wealthy as the little woman who spent her life loving the poor of every nation from her humble home here in Kolkata.