I have been looking for a new, affordable purse for a few weeks. No big whoop, but wanted something smallish, lightweight, durable and attractive without any flashy doodads or designer advertisements on it. My old one has just plain worn out. I used to be a clothes horse and would have had several others to choose from whilst I hunted. Years of single-income family life has whittled away my store of such things and the only “spares” I have are ancient beaded evening bags. If I got invited to a 90’s themed wedding, I’d have been all-set, otherwise I had to keep looking.
My daughter and her peeps have gone through, and are pretty much done with, the Vera Bradley craze. When she was in 4th grade, she was accused of having a “fake” VB lunchbox, and it was true. I just thought the lunchbox was cute when I bought it and that it wouldn't matter to 10 year olds that it wasn't designer. Wrong, so, so wrong. Well that is all behind the now almost 7th graders, but I have finally warmed up to the appeal of the bright colored, soft bags. They are generally way beyond budget, but I happened to find a tremendous deal on one after another fruitless search for above mentioned bag in traditional leather. So I bought it. I splurged and spent almost $30 on a purse for MYSELF. I rationalized. I am working part-time and am entitled to buy myself a nice Mother’s Day present. My daughter could not believe it. My husband was glad I treated myself. I felt o.k. with it and liked the addition of color to my wardrobe. It is a pink fabric with a multi-colored paisley pattern. Pink and purple pretty much; girly fun. On with life. Catching up on what was going on in the world I read the incredible story of the young Bangladeshi woman pulled from the rubble of the garment factory she works in seventeen days after its collapse.
She was in the prayer room at the time of the collapse and her first public words were thanking God for saving her life. Over one thousand of her coworkers did not escape. They died keeping our garment prices down. What was this beautiful, hauntingly beautiful, young woman wearing upon her resurrection? Pink and purple. We are all one body. Everything we do effects the other. We may be separated by half a world and vastly different circumstances, but that young woman is my little sister.
Pope Francis is trying to remind us of our communion with the poor. We are all poor and dependent upon God for everything from each breath we take to all the provisions we need. The more we find our security in our bank accounts or our personal abilities the more we are in danger of losing everything. Our nation has been given more gifts and blessings than any other nation in any time in human history. We have been given the ability to change all human society by spreading basic technology, like water supply, medicine and hygiene, etc. Many, many Americans have done those things. Many, many more have adopted the lifestyle of hoarding and setting up stores for our own small circle. We have not been faithful with our talents.
We have plundered our land and killed our children for our own false prosperity and convenience. From Gosnell in Philadelphia to Castro in Cleveland and thousands just like them across the country, we have shown utter disdain for all that is good and pure and beautiful. We have preferred dumpster diving to God’s banquet and are proud of it. We have cast God out and asked Him to remove His hand of blessing. He is a gentleman. He will continue to allow our free will. As in Hosea, He constantly calls, “Come back to Me,” but we defiantly turn our backs.
Our walls have been breached. We mourn, make repairs, celebrate our strength and move on, forgetting the depth of our need of Him. We ignore the signs piling up around our ears. He is calling. He is Mercy. He is Love. Repent.