Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Give Us This Day

Give Us This Day

I am developing a real sense of living in the present here. It begins perhaps in the kitchen. My refrigerator is very small (and I’m fortunate to have even that!). That means that I grocery shop a couple times a week and buy fresh produce often. Vegetables and eggs often remain at room temperature and are eaten quickly enough to prevent spoilage.

Treats are not saved for a more special time—they are savored immediately. Kendra taught me this early on when she immediately shared a gift of luscious hazelnut chocolates upon their arrival. She told me that her former ideas of saving things for later ended as she learned that saving for a better time meant just giving goodies to ants or spoilage. I am learning the same thing in our pantry.

I learned something about daily living in our tour of the village of Baluba. Tiny stalls sold small packages of mealie-meal (white corn meal), just enough for one day. Our friend, Reuben, explained that for many of the day laborers, these tiny packages were the only food that they could buy on their piecework wages. One day wage, one meal of cornmeal sheema. The prayer of these workers is indeed, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

For the children who are fed in daily food programs run by the Franciscan Sisters and others, their noon meal is their only meal of the day. As they gather in an open space, smelling the food being prepared, lining up to wash their hands and waiting their turn to sit at the table, this is, indeed, a daily provision of food.

How can they think about, let alone care about, tomorrow when today is so precarious?

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