yesterday evening during worship, bret posed a question during our time of reflection. it went something like this:
what was something that challenged you today?
while we talked, I spoke about how I felt challenged by the way that I didn't realize that the swamp that was next to the home we worked on wasn't there a year prior. people spoke about how the graciousness of the homeowners in purchasing food for lunch even though they didn't have much was challenging; others spoke of the vast levels of poverty that were visible throughout the day. his statement was something that really stuck with me throughout the evening and into today.
challenges are something that we face all the time. whether it is struggles with classes, strife with families, or drama with friends, life tends to put things in the way that often seem like insurmountable barriers. we are challenged by relationships, challenged by grades, challenged by God to be the greatest we can be. but for me, this week has really put into perspective that what I perceive to be my challenges are almost never as bad as what is happening to someone else. not that my challenges are not worthy or relevant, but just to realize that my challenges maybe should be taken in stride in ways that I don't usually do.
one way that I saw this come to life was today at the food bank. when we walked into the warehouse that is the holding facility for most of the food they send, I was shocked. it was larger than our warehouse in the back was when I worked at Walmart. it was absolutely stupendous. there were shelves on shelves on shelves of food for people that were facing food insecurity. to think that this was 1 million pounds of food, and that this food bank serves 10 counties in the low country of South Carolina with about 25 million pounds of food for a quarter of a million people every year is incredible. not only is that a boatload of food, but it is also a turnover of almost 2 times every month.
the low country food bank really just brought into perspective the challenges that I face, and the difference between how blessed I am, but also the ways in which my strife is just different than others. it was absolutely powerful to be able to pack 10,000 pounds of food that will help an immense amount of people -- but to know that this was only 1/2,500 of the food that this food bank puts out on a yearly basis was ridiculous.
while our challenges are our own, sometimes it helps to put them into perspective. it helps to take a step back and re-evaluate where we are, where we come from, and how we can use our own strife to empathize with the people around us. because even though on a scale, our problems may not be something to speak of, we still understand strife, and can use that feeling to sit in a space with the people we work with and empathize with them. feeling the strife people are in and helping to combat it in construction and feeding methods are just a few ways that I have felt the kingdom of God this week. I've been challenged by the people around me, and also challenged by the situations, but most of all I've been challenged by God this week.