Monday, June 10, 2013

13 Minimum

I've been thinking about this post for a long time now, trying to decide just what I wanted to convey and how I wanted to express myself. I frequently have thought that I don't want to step on any toes, and I want to with wisdom encourage those who are reading. But the more I think through this, I stop worrying so much about your toes. And though I want to encourage, I also want to admonish.

To do this, I am going to use what I'm familiar with. I can only share with you my own personal compassion, convictions, and experiences. And even though I've been thinking about this for some time, this post arose from a desire to vent and therefore I make no promises regarding its coherence and brevity! *Fair Warning*

My topic today is simple....

13 years.

Why, you might ask, did the concept of 13 years frustrate me enough to want to verbally vent in the form of a blog post? Because one year ago I returned from Uganda having made a very important commitment to a 5 year old. And when I do the math, this commitment will last (yes, you guessed it) 13 years!

You see, in Uganda the school calender is year round beginning in January with three terms that conclude in November/early December. Children begin school in what they call baby class, then they complete middle and top class before attending primary 1-7. Next there is secondary 1-4 (much like our high school). Then students who wish to attend University must complete what is called A-level which is two years. So if you do the math, that is up to 16 years of school and that's excluding college. (To those school aged readers: Makes our 12 year system look a whole lot better, right?)

All of this to say, that at 22 years of age, I made a commitment to a five year old to guarantee her ability to complete 13 more years of school. Thirteen years from the time I made that commitment I will be 35 years old. Kind of puts things into perspective doesn't it?

In our society, we are so very quick to give. This is evidenced by the immense outpourings after natural disasters. I heard recently that an entirely separate fund had to be created on behalf of the Boston Marathon Bombing victims because so much money was coming in from kindhearted people all over the nation. This, however, does not tell the whole story. In a few weeks, the fund will not be news worthy, this post will be forgotten, and those one-time donations will be just that, one-time. For true lasting impact, we need to grasp how important committed, long-term giving is to the projects we love.

My hope is that you'll find ways to be loyal supporters of the causes that touch your heart most. Sacrifice should be difficult. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be sacrificial. If your giving doesn't hurt, give more. I don't think you'll ever look back on your life and think "I wish I'd given less..."

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