Let me tell you about our Day 10 activity- walking to church and back! When we started out on our two mile trek, the weather was cool and breezy, and I thought of what a beautiful day it was for a walk. Hand in hand, our family headed off to church on foot, just like many of my sisters around the world must do if they want to worship God with others. I wonder how many churches we pass by just to get to our church each week? Freedom of Religion- have I ever been truly appreciative of this freedom? I can't honestly say that I have. I honestly can't say that I have a truly deep appreciation for this freedom even now, for this freedom has never been truly threatened. I don't think many Americans can honestly understand our degree of blessing on this one. But what a blessing though that I can worship in whatever manner I desire in this land of freedom...nasanat..
All was well. The birds were singing. What a glorious morning it was! When we got four houses away from our driveway, Lucas said, "My feet are tiiiiirrrreeed." (Insert 4-year-old whine here for full effect) I knew then that it might be a long walk! I'm a smart mommy though, and I brought along snacks in my backpack for the kids. Keeping them eating helped as we walked on. To get to our church, we have to leave our little residential neighborhood, walk through a not-so-good area (unless you don't mind drug dealers under the bridge), and then walk down the side of a highway for a little while. Now, the drug-dealer area wasn't bad at all. I've never been a drug dealer, so I'm probably not qualified to speculate here, but my theory is that drug dealers don't wake up early in the morning on the weekends. There were a couple of kids playing in a stream, but nobody else was anywhere to be seen. The highway was a little trickier, but not that bad. We were mostly able to walk through parking lots in order to avoid walking in the grass next to the road. While I remembered to bring snacks, I didn't bring any "bug-bite medicine" as my kids call it. Wouldn't you know they were both itching their arms and legs fiercely by the time we arrived to church. I tried to convince them that rubbing spit on the bites is a natural remedy, but it did little to alleviate the itching or the whining. We had two people stop to offer us a ride, one person honked and waved, another slowed down to gawk at us, and we found out later that somebody we know saw us walking and wanted to offer us a ride, but they were too embarassed because their car was messy.
By the time we arrived, both kids throroughly understood that we were very fortunate to have a car. A few weeks ago we had an orphan child from Uganda stay with us for the weekend. Because we were able to make that personal connection with the kids, explaining that in Uganda, kids like Oliviah have to walk many miles to go to church, Kaitlyn and Lucas actually understood! This was perhaps one of our most successful projects so far. They really got it. I really got it. Because we had worked so hard to get to church, I really wanted to be there. Though I was hot, sweaty, and dirty (don't ask me how!) by the time I got there, I was so ready to worship God! In America, it's so easy to find Jesus that most of us don't bother to really look, myself included so much of the time. Why is human nature like that?! Why do we want the things that are hard to get? Yet when it's starring us right in the face, we become complacent.
Anyway, people at church thought we were crazy for the most part. People just kept asking us why. I think I'm going to print off some slips of paper with my blog address on it so that I can just start handing them out rather than keep explaining. Some people thought our 30 Days was really cool. Others sort of rolled their eyes, no doubt thinking "Heather and Avery are soooo strange!" One woman suddenly felt guilty over her own life, which isn't laden with consumerism by any means. I just encouraged her that there's no need to feel guilty, but there's a huge need to go to God and ask Him what He wants you to do about the poverty in the world. Then do it.
Now, when it was time to go back home, the North Carolina sun was burning bright. I can't remember how many offers we had to drive us home. It was tempting, but we really wanted to push through this and walk home too. So, we declined and set out on our homeward journey. Car after car after car leaving the church pulled over to try to give us a ride, assuming our car had broken down. One man asked if we needed a ride. Avery said, "No, we chose to walk today." In wide-eyed disbelief, he asked, "WHY????" What kind of lazy society do we live in where people don't choose to walk to church just for the enjoyment and exercise! We both laughed so hard when he asked us that. We explained our reasons, and he seemed to understand. I would probably not want to know what people who know us say about our family. We do some of the most crazy, daring, adventerous things. But I love my life! Seriously, I absolutely love our family and the adventure we live.
Someone at church knew we were doing 30 Days of Nothing, so after making sure it was okay with me, she bought the kids some Oreos. I, smart mommy that I am, saved the Oreos in the backpack as an incentive to walk home without whining. For you see, kids who don't whine get to eat Oreos! It worked like a charm. The prospect of eating Oreos even kept Avery and me from whining too much!
When we passed by that stream in the drug-dealer neighborhood, we stopped so that the kids could play in it for a minute. It was still peaceful with no sign of life anywhere. Must be that drugs make you sleep in on Sunday mornings! I wouldn't know, but that's the conclusion I drew. Now, as the kids were walking down the embankment to the stream, I noticed the grafiti on the side of the bridge. Kaitlyn also noticed it. She excitedly ran back to me exclaiming, "Mommy! Mommy! Somebody painted a really pretty picture down there!" INNOCENCE! I love it! While we sat on the banks of the stream we got to talking about how people in poor countries have to wash their laundry in a stream just like this one. Kaitlyn and Lucas are actually starting to get into this 30 Days thing. They asked, "Can we bring our clothes down here and wash them in the stream to see what it's like?"
So, this week we'll be focusing on the blessing of clean water. And we'll each be carrying an outfit to the stream to wash it later in the week. Again, I'm very thankful for Advil after that long walk!
PS Dear Blogger Police: Please don't infer from this post that we would ever put our kids in danger or expose them to drug dealers! We strive to keep our kids safe, perhaps to the extreme at times! Drug deals can happen anytime at anyplace. Even in your neighborhood! We happen to be aware of what goes on in our town because we care so desperately about our kids and their safety. If you are so naive that you actually believe there isn't this kind of thing going on in your town, then perhaps you're the type who has this going on right under your nose without realizing it.