I am not a world traveller, but thanks to the kindness of others, mostly our daughters, I have been on a few adventures.

When my youngest daughter (a history buff like myself) took me to Peru I saw a different world. In the midst of this pandemic thoughts cross my mind.

In ancient Pisaq with the market I refer to in the valley below

This morning an image that frequently fills my mind comes from being in one of the many markets in that country. One vendor, a woman with a baby on her back, had chess sets for sale. One caught my eye, the pieces dressed as Conquistadors and Inca’s warriors facing off against each other. The thing is, I did not need another chess set because I have one. The price was not unreasonable, but I didn’t need it. Anyway, the vendor kept lowering the price.

Now I was in a different world. If she didn’t sell anything she wouldn’t eat that night. At the same time she had lowered the price so much, for something I wasn’t going to buy. That vision of her being at the market (it was huge so it was reasonable to assume some vendors would not sell anything on a given day) and coming home not just empty-handed, but with an empty stomach as well, stirred me.

I am not so poor as to be in danger of hunger, but when I was growing up there were times that there was not enough food in the house for Mother and her three children. I have been there.

So what was I to do here?

I could not buy the chess set at the low price she had offered. I didn’t need the game on top of that. Well, the story ends with me buying the set (I have used it once!), and then giving her a tip “for the baby” to bring the purchase close to its real value.

I think of these things because in vast areas of this planet a shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 means those people who live day-by-day and eat what they buy at the market each day, means risk disease or hunger.

It disturbs me that in North America people refuse to practice caution about the spread of this virus, complaining about their individual rights, with a freezer and pantry full of food and water from the tap, in contempt of those dear souls elsewhere on earth who are caught between two terrors, with no assistance from their economic culture. This is not to be blind to those on this continent who struggle for survival, home, food and income. And we do what we can for them. It is simply that for those people who live a life of comfort, and privilege, without gratitude for their condition also stirs something in me.

May I never forget my roots. May I never withhold my affection for those “the least of Christ’s children”. May I see the world through the eyes of The Saviour and not from a universe that has me as its centre.

It is not guilt that is needed, but gift that is needed, gratitude rather than grumbling.