Thursday, May 1, 2014

Simple Solidarity

Last week, we decided to do an experiment as a family. An experiment to relate to the millions and millions of people who have fewer resources than we do. A simple exercise in solidarity.

Solidarity…. combination or agreement of all elements or individuals, as of a group; complete unity, as of opinion, purpose, interest, feeling, etc

My family is blessed! We may not be rich in the standards of the world today, but we have an abundance.

1 Timothy 6:6-8. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Wow! We obviously have more than just food and clothes. The computer I’m typing on right now… at least 95% of the people in the world do not have one of these amazing works of technology.

The six inch wide dictionary I used to find the definition of solidarity… people in third world countries would be shocked and amazed at the amount of paper in that one book. Their kids may not even have a single piece of paper of their own aside from paper for school. If they even can go to school!

Half of the world’s population eats only rice for at least 2 meals a day (nearly 3 billion people). Yet we in America groan with a few days of peanut butter sandwiches or a few nights of leftovers. We feel entitled to variety and expect abundance.

So, for 7 days, my family ate only seven foods and wore only seven clothes. From April 14th to April 21st (which is really 8 days, but we didn’t count Resurrection Sunday since we were out with family) we made all our meals out of: rice, beans, greens, eggs, whole wheat flour, applesauce from last fall, and ground beef, plus sparing coconut oil, salt, and pepper. No cheese, no other spices, and no chocolate! No sweeteners of any kind either.

And all eight days, even Resurrection Sunday, we wore seven clothes. Not outfits… seven clothes, including our jackets for early morning farm chores.

Some of our meals were:

  • Beefy scrambled eggs in tortillas

  • Greens in scrambled eggs with beans
  • Beans in tortillas
  • Rice, greens and ground beef stir around
  • Beans, greens and ground beef stew with flatbreads
  • Rice and gravy with applesauce on the side
  • Rice and scrambled eggs

It was great for a few days, before it became monotonous. We ate to gain energy, not for the pleasure or the comfort we often seek from food.

Our tortillas are made of flour, water, salt, and oil, so they were a staple. The flatbreads are just bigger and thicker tortillas.

And my gravy was a rice-saver. (Instead of a life-saver!)  The water in the bottom of the crockpot, leftover from cooking beans all day, is thick and salty and a lot like gravy. It turned out delicious on rice and kept it from flying off toddlers’ spoons.

All in all, our experiment turned out well. We made our goal: thankfulness for our abundance, recognition of what we have taken for granted. It was hard in the beginning to go without snacks, but as time went on we didn’t notice as much.

The first day we ate “normal” again, we counted the ingredients we used during the whole day. It was a celebration day for Witzy’s birthday so we may have used more ingredients than usual, but we still used nearly fifty food items!

You may not want to do an experiment like the one my family did, but I challenge you to look for the blessings you and your family take for granted – to cultivate thankfulness. It may not be easy, but a thankful heart is something that our God loves!!


P.S. I am still learning about taking pictures. Thanks for your patience with these.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rainbow! This was such an extraordinary experiment! You all are to be commended for sticking with it and for the efforts you made to empathize with the vast majority of the world... and to understand more fully how much we have to be thankful for. And I might add, superbly written! I have shared this with several people because it is such an inspiration and a wonderful challenge.
Much love,

Ilse said...

I love this experiment. I also love reading your posts.