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"This Is A Soul" a.k.a. The Book of Shame

I just finished reading "This is A Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes" by Marilyn Berger for our book club.

Rick is a doctor, a truly awe inspiring man doing amazing work in Ethiopia. On top of saving lives - he's adopted at least five children. Many more, with horrible disfiguring diseases, have literally been plucked off the streets and live at his house while they wait for surgery.

But, slogging through page after page after page of selfless acts of goodness, it was not inspiration I felt. Instead, I felt ashamed that I didn't want to move to Ethiopia THIS MINUTE and adopt twenty children.
Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful there are people like Rick, Mother Theresa, this woman, and many, many others, who are (or were in the case of Mother Theresa) moved by the plight of children (and grown-ups) around the world.
And if you're called to that - then get up off the couch and go do it. Stop procrastinating. Go to Kabul, teach, whatever is eating at your gut - go. do. it.
The problem comes when I think there's something wrong with me because I don't feel moved to do the same. Or - when someone who is called to do it thinks there's something wrong with me when I am not moved to do the same.

No, I've not been called to adopt children from and/or move to Siberia, Ethiopia, India, or even Hawaii for that matter. I've been called to be very, very boring.

What if there are no fireworks or fanfare, CNN reports, or best-selling books in your future either?

What if your future [or present] is just a quiet sitting with the aged, suicide prevention, feeding the homeless, rescuing pit bulls, saving the rain forest or lemurs, teenage mothers, AIDS awareness, helping the illiterate learn to read, or raising two kittens you found in a dumpster.

What if all we were meant to do was smile at that person we smiled at today or talk to that woman perusing the bagels at Whole Foods or pay for the people behind you on a toll bridge or write that encouraging blog post (ah, yea, that's not me either). Maybe our sole/soul purpose was to call AAA for the young girl stranded in the bank parking lot.

And that's it.

The point is, don't dismiss what you do do. Because that smile could save a person's life. 

It is, as they say, all good.


  1. Now, now, just re-read what you've written in this blog. You're one of my favorite heroines. And that Kindness of Strangers some people depend upon? You do it every day! I am seriously NOT reading this shame-inducing book for book club. Furthermore, if we do that around-the-room polling opinions thing, I will say, Thanks for asking, I didn't read it -- I'm here for party. Epitaph: She was here for the party. Your epitaph would certainly NOT be: Boring. Anonymous CP

  2. I too find it so great that others feel the calling to adopt children or spend their lives in places like my friend Kari who just returned from Siberia and hates the thought she is back in the USA where people buy too much, eat too much, throw away too much and do so while they have lost the real meaning for this season we are in. She could get on a plane and spend the rest of her life over there with the children at the orphanage she just left. I am so happy that there are people like her around since I can't seem to cultivate the same feelings in myself. Kind of complicated and then not really so complicated.

  3. @ Odie - your friend Keri is the "this woman" whose blog I linked to. She is amazing.
    I pray God gives her the will and the way to do what is her heart's desire.

  4. LOVED this post!

    If I was over in a third world country working to heal and save orphans I would be totally out of God's will. I would be greatly disobeying Him. Missing the mark. Totally.

    But only some Christians get that. I think you are one of them.

    And you are definitely someone who writes encouraging blog posts, too! Blessings, Debra