Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Today at the supermarket, I stopped by the eggs. They weren't on my list, but I counted how many I thought were in the carton at home.

While I surveyed the cage-free options – TWO out of two-dozen options - two women walked from the opposite direction. They split up; one going past for mozzarella, the other picking up a standard dozen eggs, the cheapest carton available.

She made her choice so nonchalantly, so automatically, hardly weighing the options. 
(I hemmed and hawed for more than a minute.) How does she choose? 

I observed one habit. She decided once, which color package to buy. And now buys it repeatedly, no evaluating necessary. Easy.

But there is another habit – avoidance. It is easier to look at those bland cartons and imagine happy hens. I want them to be happy and healthy. And so I imagine, looking away from the reality that one egg from one happy hen must cost more than 0.12 cents. Is that egg from a hen that has even stood on its own feet?

I do this – this looking away – all the time. Sometimes it's the only way I can cope in this broken world:

I turn my head, look straight past the homeless man that has nowhere else to go.
I tune out the number of Washington orphans waiting for homes.
I deafen my ears to the environment's screams.
I shield my heart from community that doesn't value my contribution.
I look away from the dog down the street, left tied up, alone.
I switch off the news and retreat to my quiet garden: digging, planting, weeding, anything for hours, trying to imagine there's no conflicts, no pain...

I can only handle so much – alone. But, over time my relationship with Jesus builds up my tolerance. He looked straight at the hurting, the broken, the rejected, the lost in this life and touched them, listened to them, gave them what He could.

Because of His mercy, now I can look at the abuse, the slavery of today and say – NO – I will respond. 
I will partner with others who help bring light into the darkness, freedom for the captives, good news to the poor.
I will keep praying for needs that remain for decades, for the impossible to come in the hearts of those consumed by anger and fear.
And I will spend my dollars in full view of the One who paid for me. I will focus on what He says is valuable.

So, I choose to see and acknowledge the hardness of Life and I Refuse to give up. But not by my own power. I wouldn't last one day alone.


  1. Wow, we don't hear from you in a while, and then BAM, beautiful, hard words to hear! But Jesus is like that too! in the first paragraph i assumed you were going to write about getting some chickens for your back yard. you should you know, lucy could come help every now and then! but back to your post....i totally hear you, and it's a fine line between God understanding our frail hearts that cannot bear this world's burdens, and His call to open our eyes and see what He sees. and not just that there is so much brokenness, but that HE IS redeeming and doing so much work, on His own, and with our "help". keep up the hard work Rachel. and I for one value your contribution! :-)

  2. Sarah, thank you for your encouragement and spurring on to keep seeing, fighting for the Good that keeps springing up in this world, from Him.

  3. So wonderful to hear your voice here again, Dear Friend. By the time I got to the end of your post, the title meant something completely different. Living outside the cage of fear. Choosing not to build walls around ourselves to protect us from what we don't want to see. Opening up the hand to let Him do what He will with us, no matter how small our resources are in the face of such great needs. Yes, He died to give us the cage-free life. And we just have to keep choosing it one day after another. Love you, Friend.

  4. Courtney,
    thanks for sharing your insights. I was surprised that the meaning of title changed that much, too. Funny how you start writing, think you know what to say, and something else comes out. =)