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I shall not want

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Last year, my family moved to a city of 20 million people. It has been exhilarating, wonderful and completely overwhelming.

Many days I wonder: How am I going to manage life here? I have trouble finding a voice for what I find difficult. Daily I’m confronted with suffering on a scale I can’t begin to process:

Children barefoot under a scorching sun, digging through garbage.

A young, illiterate mother, widowed far too early.

The women who labour on my street, heads piled high with bricks, while their toddlers play in the dust near the road.

The bicycle rickshaw driver, sinewy legs and tattered shirt, working for pennies hauling others (myself included) around.

What right do I have to miss the life I left behind when I still have abundantly more than most people I encounter? I live within this tension.

I see photos of my friends’ children playing in crystal lakes in B.C. I see my extended family in Canada camping together.

And I miss that. I miss it for my kids. I mourn that they will not have the childhood I had. I wonder if they will resent me for it.

I miss clean air. I miss safe, clean spaces for my children to play outside.

I miss having a car, and not having to juggle an infant, toddler and preschooler through crowded markets.

Then I see the suffering all around me. And I wonder how I could be of use to anyone when I can barely keep my kids intact, when I’m ready to have a complete breakdown every time our power is out or we don’t have running water.

There is much suffering in this world I don’t understand. There is much in myself that I wrestle with daily. And it exhausts me. And when I sit to write, I always have more questions than answers.

I have had this song by Audrey Assad running through my mind and stereo these days. When my heart is bending under the weight of this broken world, when I am confronted time and again with the brokenness within myself, it is in his goodness alone where I find rest and hope.

From the love of my own comfort,
From the fear of having nothing,
From a life of worldly passions,
Deliver me, O God.

And I shall not want,
I shall not want.
When I taste your goodness,
I shall not want.

—Andrea H. lives in Asia with her husband and three daughters.

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