Sunday, November 12, 2006

thoughts on giving & taking

Another successful RJD party. Thanks Becks for the practical idea of giving gifts to kids in needy countries by packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. It was a great way to catch up, have fun and share a meaningful purpose in our gathering.

Ta daa! Don't the boxes look so pretty... I don't know why, but in my head I thought we were wrapping all the individual gifts up so there'd be more fun to unwrap. Naive of me to forget that we live in a world where wrapped gifts are a threat while en route to international destinations. So we had fun wrapping the boxes instead (uh, correction, Dilys, Lynn and Jeff diligently wrapped the boxes -- not as easy as you might think! Thanks guys!)

Once the boxes were wrapped, the men left (I figure because the task was done :) and the women began another activity... knitting! Lynn was ambitiously knitting a teddy bear! He was so cute that we all wanted her to knit one for us! :) Apparently knitting is quite popular in populations that are not necessarily the stereotypical granny-type of person. My aunt taught me to knit years ago, but I never learned how to start a project or finish. I just know the stitches. Oh well, I don't think I'll be picking that up again -- I simply don't have the patience to finish any project!

Ironically we bought most of our gifts at the dollar store down the street. Ironic, I think, because I can't help but wonder if some of the very items we bought were made by the very children we are seeking to bless with our gifts. My sister borrowed a book from the library while she was here that I felt compelled to add to my collection of books. It's called Take It Personally: How to Make Conscious Choices to Change the World and is quite eye-opening about ethical and fair trade business, globalization and other related issues.

I realized a little while ago that I worship the mighty dollar in a different kind of way than the typical "earn lots and save/hoard lots." Rather, my expression of worshipping the dollar is more like, "I want the lowest cost possible on services and products -- at any cost," which is an illusion because while I may be getting a cheap price, you can almost bet it's coming at the cost of something or someone:
  • It could be costing me health safety or the environment damage, if it's a product that's been produced by a company that cuts corners in its production practices (check out this site that shows detailed info on the safety of the personal care products we use -- interestingly the cheapest brands are often the highest hazard, but expensive labels are also producing toxic products).
  • It could be a product made using cheap child labour in some country far away.
  • It could be the 3 year old daughter who never sees his father who slaves away at the print shop I use (I've been there at 3am, 8am, 3pm... there is only once of the dozens of times I have been there when Dave, the owner, is not there).
To stop taking from others (and myself!) in these subtle ways is hard and intentional work for this slow-reader -- I can barely keep up with daily news let alone research some of these crucial issues. Seeing the implications of our choices are not as easy as I'd like. Ignorance can be bliss, but I can't ignore that part of God's mandate to human beings is to be good stewards of creation (which includes this beautiful world we live in, but more imporant, people!).


photo_fanatic said...

I am tempted to join the knitting wave, but part of me wants to resist ... since this would just further paint me into the "librarian" stereotype :P

enitsuj said...

ha ha... but seriously, knitting seems to be so popular that I'm sure it creeps into other professions' stereotypes! Emma on Degrassi has taken up knitting too :) It's goin mainstream it seems!