Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Six Twenty.

I have a confession to make: I used to eat a lot of fast food. More than my husband realizes. It was in the almost two year period that we lived in an apartment. We were surrounded by food  I mean it- surrounded. Our apartment complex sat in the middle of downtown Fern Creek. Our building was on the outer edge of the complex, almost in the very corner of the property, right behind a popular shopping center. In this shopping center, which was just a few steps from where I lived, is a Kroger, a Subway, and a Chinese restaurant. Also a place that sells "take it and bake it" pizzas. This shopping center is located next to another, newer strip mall which contains a Moe's and a sushi place. A small bridge connects that parking lot with that of a super WalMart, which in turn houses a McDonald's. And scattered in these parking lots you can find a White Castle, a Burger King, an Applebee's and a Taco Bell. That was all within walking distance. And then there were even more restaurants nearby- you'd barely have to get out on an actual road to reach an Arby's, a Dairy Queen, a Frisch's, a McAlister's Deli, a KFC, and a Chick Fil A. And that's just the fast food! It was so easy to run out and get food. And it seemed much more convenient than fixing something in my house. The crazy thing is, we were poor. Like, more than we are now. We had less money coming in and had really bad insurance and it was downright ugly at times. Plus we still had separate bank accounts so there was less financial accountability. Yet it was surprisingly easy to scrape together enough money to buy lunch at least once a week. Usually twice. It was just a big temptation to treat myself since I was home by myself all day and was used to buying lunch on campus or on the way to or from school. Old habits are hard to break.

It got to the point that at one restaurant I always got exactly the same thing and knew exactly how much it would cost. My meal, with the extra sauces I liked for my fries and the large diet coke, because diet coke is a magical and delicious beverage and sometimes just tastes incredible when it comes from a fountain, cost exactly $6.20. Every time. And you'd be surprised how easy it is to come up with $6.20 to throw away. Sometimes I'd have 4 ones and the rest was in change. And yeah, I felt bad about being that customer. But I got over it pretty quickly because I had my easy, convenient, impulse buy of a meal. It was amazing- I could feel like I had no money, and that I could and should spend my money on other stuff- I could put it toward a birthday present or spend it on books or makeup, not to mention more important things like paying bills or buying groceries. But I got fast food. $6.20.

It's a lot harder to have these little impulse buys these days. We may be making a little more money, but we also have a house and utilities and bigger bills to pay. We try to save more, for the future, for emergencies, for an adoption. For a trip to Africa. Plus we share a bank account now and I have that whole financial accountability thing (note: don't be sneaky with your finances in your marriage. It's bad all around. Despite the fact that it's harder for me to waste money on myself, I'm much happier sharing an account with my husband,) But unless my bank account reads zero dollars (and it has in the past), I bet I could come up with $6.20 to throw away if I really wanted to. $6.20 is easy. Spare change. A drop in the bucket.

I have 260 Facebook friends. At one point I had about 500, but I've narrowed it down over the years, eliminating people I never got along with, keeping some I've come to appreciate. Then I got rid of people I literally have no contact with- not only did we not speak in person, but we also never communicated online. Never liked each others statuses or commented on pictures. So that's 260 people with whom I have at least a tiny relationship. I also know that this blog gets about a hundred page views a day (I know this because I see it when I visit Blogger to make sure I'm not accidentally ignoring any comments.) Let's pretend that that number represents a hundred individuals, because I'm feeling good about my writing lately. Ha. That's 360 people in my online sphere of contact. 360 people who could potentially read this. If less than a third of you- just 100 people- donated $6.20 to my fundraiser for my trip to Africa, that would be $620. That's a big number. That's more than my rent was on that apartment I mentioned. That's more than one of my paychecks. More than one and a half of my paychecks, actually. More than I pay for 6 months insurance on my car. That number would have a huge impact. And I'm not asking one person to do it- I'm asking if 100 people can help in tiny individual ways and make a huge splash. Shock me to the point that I have no choice but to fall on the floor in awe and gratitude. Just $6.20. That's all I'm asking. $6.20 to make a few dreams come true- not just my own but my boy Said's as well. $6.20 to help me hug my son. $6.20 to love on some kids who desperately need it. $6.20 to meet some world changers. $6.20 to bring hope and encouragement. $6.20. That's it. I'm not asking people to send me on a vacation. This trip will be hard. Challenging. Heartbreaking at times, I think, but also soul lifting. Life changing. I'm going to help, to learn, to love. Not to relax. Not to get away. This trip isn't about me. It's about a boy named Said. A strong single mama, Mama Said. A girl named Imshi who has lost her sister. It's about the 63,500 kids who currently benefit from Compassion's work to end poverty in Tanzania. And it's about the millions more they've yet to reach.
$6.20. That's all I ask. Lunch money for one day. A Venti latte with an extra pump of syrup. A nice bottle of nail polish. An afternoon movie. $6.20. Rock my world.

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