Friday, November 19, 2010

What is Normal, Really?

Just a thought I've been thinking a lot about lately, what is normal?

A group that just recently visited MOH mentioned something about how tent cities and various things in Haiti seemed to become "normal" to them during their week long visit, and then commented on how absurd that was, that living in tents would be normal, that going to bed hungry would be normal, that drinking from an unclean water source would be normal. Right, it is absurd, to those of us from North America where Starbucks/Timmy's on every corner is the norm, where 3 bedroom homes with central air and heat is the norm, and worrying about gaining too much weight at Christmas is the norm.

I'm really not being judgmental at this point. When I was home I LOVED Starbucks, daily if I could manage to drive by one. This is just one thought that has stuck with me, because when I was in this debriefing with the team, I found myself agreeing with them, thinking "oh my gosh, this stuff has become normal to me! How awful that I have gotten used to the living conditions in this country." I felt guilty for not being able to fix every bit of hunger that crossed my path here, or for not bringing every sick child back to the mission until they were better. But with a bit more thought in the following days, I realized that this is very much the norm for the Majority World. Not that every developing nation has tent cities or all of the issues that are currently affecting Haiti, but I just feel like it's important for us as North Americans to realize that we are not the norm. Our way of life is not sustainable, and our standards of living are, I want to say, ridiculous. And I did.

I've had some understanding of this concept in the past, but I think it just slapped me in the face in a different way this week. Hopefully it helps you think about this as well.


  1. This certainly is a tricky topic... it is not as simple or as straight-forward as it might seem.
    You are able to serve in Haiti, the way you are, because you come from a "wealthy" country. (I assume you are being supported by donations in some form or another.) Scripture says that the time and places of people are appointed by God... God has determined where each person is born that they might seek Him. (Acts 17:26-27)
    The great commission is more about making disciples of Jesus than feeding/clothing/medicating the poor... but that should not be neglected either. If all we are doing is feeding the poor but do not tell them the good news about Jesus, then essentially we are just sending people off to hell with full bellies. We live in a temporary world that is marred, scarred and cursed by sin. We have to keep in mind that God created us to be eternal and to spend eternity with Him. We need to remember eternity to keep from drowning in the needs of the humanity's poor.

    I am not trying to be mean or argumentative... just a thoughtful discussion on a very complex subject.

    Love you, dear Lindsay! I love your servant heart and I know God does too!
    Bless you as you serve!

  2. Most of the time, when Jesus was here in human form, he took care of people's physical and or emotional needs before he ever addressed their spiritual needs. They must always go hand in hand. How else will people ever believe we actually care about them? I am very touched by your sacrificial life. Thank you for going and thank you for giving.