Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tikkun Olam and

J and I have a belief in Tikkun Olam, or "the repair of the world," as an extension of the WHY in what we do for ourselves and our family. It is a Jewish/biblical concept of life purpose being in somehow contributing to the healing or transformation of the world around us, rather than the focus being only to better ourselves. In all we do, and in the homestead life we're pursuing, tikkun olam is at the heart of what we want to leave as a heritage...because life is very short. I am daily reminded how fragile it is.

The enormity of need can often discourage folks from feeling that a single act of kindness or integrity will make a difference. Yet that old canard about the pebble being dropped into the pond and the ripple effect extending outward is very true. I don't worry about the enormity of need anymore...we are bombarded with overwhelming needs around us we can't begin to meet. But if we respond even in a small way as a natural part of who we are, it is participating in the "repair of the world." And those small actions do save in literal ways... a concept the sages stated succinctly when they penned "he who saves a single life saves the world entire."

I am very thankful for today...our daughter graduates her first leg of nursing school. We are so very very grateful, but not only for her achievement and our sense of team spirit, but also for every day she had to drive in the dark there and back, and came safely home. I just thank God every day my family is gathered safely back together. I see those memorial flowers on the roadside in different places along the highway that say "drive safely" and it turns my attention to those who have lost much, likely during an everyday commute.

My heart goes out to my coworker, whose grown son is now back home, his kidneys slowly failing him and preventing him from an active life. And her second son, in special forces in Iraq, whom she'll only see perhaps once a year, and hear from only sporadically. She works hard for the money to support herself and her other teenager, plus the sick son...and has to find the inner strength to not despair and to keep her chin up and make it cheerfully through her workday. Which she does, beautifully.

There is much to pray for, and much for which to be grateful.

A while back, Monica wrote about micro-lending and an organization called Kiva. You can check out their webpage at

I am encouraged that with a very small amount of money from folks like ourselves, we can help in a very large way folks who, indeed, homestead for a better life. The money is repaid and can roll over to another family or individual of our choice, or can simply be recovered and put back into our pocket.

It is an incredible opportunity at very little risk, and a definate way to give that anyone, even children who save some loose change, can participate in...and that does, indeed "repair the world."

We celebrate God's graciousness tonight with our daughter with many thanks. We invested much to help her on her way to this point, and are grateful for the blessings. We celebrate also by investing in the lives of others...we'll do so in her honor as part of our graduation gift to her. that way our joy will be compounded and invested in some lives where pennies make a difference.

I invite you to give a look-see to see if you might be as excited about its opportunities as we are. Lending small, for very big dividends ! :)

1 comment:

Faith said...

When I was on a short-term mission trip to Kenya, I found that a single act of kindness meant the world to a widow I met. She was taking care of four starving grandchildren and had nothing to feed them with. My fellow missionary and I bought the widow a lactating goat so she would have milk for the children. Unfortunately, even the several day delay before she got the goat was too late for one of the grandchildren, who died of starvation. But that goat, she said, was right from God, and I hope that the other children have survived. To see this kind of need with my own eyes - it's undescribably, really, and a reason I want to take my children to such destitute places.

Today, our family tries to make a difference to many poor families by buying goats for one child at a time through this organization:

In fact, we have come to look at the world in terms of goats: How many goats could we buy if we didn't get this for ourselves? It's been a great lesson for the children.