It has been nearly a year since I first wrote about growing more human – and I miss it. I miss Africa. I miss the people. I miss the widows, the orphans and friends who loved me. Every day, the halo of their absence still casts a shadow of blessing over me.
Today I was reminded about the importance of being human. I thought afresh about what it all means. What is love? What is growing ‘more human’? I try so hard to do and be both. But, as C.S. Lewis notes, many things – such as loving, going to sleep or behaving unaffectedly – are done worst when we try hardest to do them.
This week, I stood at the edge of deep time in a white blanket of snow that chilled my breath when I gasped in awe at the rim of the Grand Canyon – for the very first time.
I drove to the Grand Canyon from the south, where a gently rising plateau gives no hint at what is about to unfold. It almost made me start to wonder if I had made a wrong turn. But then, all at once an immense gorge a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide opened up. The scale was vast and from my vantage point, I could only see a fraction of the Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is a land to inspire our spirit. It is a place where smallness becomes greater and greatness dissipates as with the light of a setting sun. It is a place of changing landscapes. Its jagged edges do not hide under a cloak of vegetation. Its beautiful sequence of rock layers serve as a window into the nature of its past.
When I got home, my breath was chilled again. I gasped, not in the awe of nature, but from its fury. El Nino’s extreme weather patterns have all at once caused an immense hunger gorge in Africa because of widespread droughts and flooding. Millions of families in Africa are being devastated by an impending food crisis (click here).
I have not been blessed with children, but I began imagining myself with ten children and only enough food for five. Would I split the food ten ways and slowly watch them starve? Or would I feed and save five?
And then I dare to ask, ‘what is love’? What is growing more human?
Admittedly, love is many things. But this I know for sure, that no child should die of hunger. I also know that one of love’s simplest expressions is feeding our future generations.
I can do something and that is why I’m sharing this information with my readers and I will do something by donating to the Emergency Hunger Response, which is matching donations dollar for dollar to help the most vulnerable.
I hope my own response will inspire our collective spirit. I hope that this sequence of generosity will serve as a window into the nature of our humanity for years to come. I hope that we all answer the call to do something – to inform, to give, to love.
Together, may we grow more human-itarian.