Needs vs. Wants

The Men of Messiah (from Messiah Lutheran Church in Lynnfield, MA) went into Boston this morning to give out some small care packages to people living on the streets or in shelters. We stuffed Ziploc bags with socks, water, food, and some other supplies. Finding a location one of the guys knew as a drop off point for one of the shelter vans, we gave out 35 bags in about 2 minutes. It was eye opening for me to consider how many people, in this one spot, on this cold and snowy morning were in need of a pair of socks, a bottle of water, and even more a warm place to sit.

They were being kicked out of the fast food restaurant as happens every morning at the same time when the police detail shows up to move them along to another location. What does that feel like? I could go into a restaurant today and sit for hours without being asked to leave, but their appearance and numbers intimidate the clients and bring down business. Unwanted, they look for other places to sit where no one will question them and no one will ask them to leave. That’s hard to do with 2 feet of snow on the ground and another 3-6 inches falling today in the city.

My thoughts went from sadness for these men and women to thankfulness for the blessings I receive every day. When care packages get sent to me by loved ones and are filled with snacks, movies, candy, or other treats. In other words: non-necessities.           Today helped to bring a little perspective to my life, and hopefully I’ll be a bit less quick to grumble and complain. It brings to mind the video of the Third World kid saying, “I hate it when I ask for no pickles, and they give me pickles.” First world problems spoken by third world people. Check out this video and you’ll feel ridiculous about how much you have too.

Third world problems are alive and well in my part of the world today. I can’t solve all those problems, but being aware of them is an important first step.

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