One of my bedrooms looks like this right now. I’m collecting essentials for those displaced by the shelling of their homes in Ukraine, of course. It takes my breath away to even say that sentence. Did you notice it began with ONE of my bedrooms, indicative of the fact that I am wealthy? I have more than one bedroom. These Home Depot buckets are being filled quickly, (over 200 of them by our congregation alone) to be shipped to Poland for distribution to those who are desperately trying to survive the Putin invasion of their homeland.
And then, the explanation above ended with the words “of course.” It ’s a relevant truth that nothing is a matter of course right now in the country of Ukraine. Nothing that was normal, nothing routine, nothing that was a matter of course…is, anymore.
I’m putting soap in my buckets. It occurs to me that I’ve never needed anyone to give me soap. I’ve never been “refugee-dirty”, escaping a war-torn city with no time or space for provisions and no place to stop for baths and sleep, medical attention or re-stocking of provisions.
I’m putting a clothesline in each bucket. I’m collecting these goods in a spot right beside my laundry hall—only a few feet from my extra-capacity electric clothes dryer. I have never in my sixty years lived in a house that didn’t have both a washer and dryer. (My daughter is now temporarily living in a little house without a washer or dryer, and she’s shocked at how much she’s taken for granted the luxury of an in-home laundry in years past.) We are rich.
I’m putting a bottle of Dawn dish detergent in each bucket to wash the four mugs and 8 place settings of silverware that are going in the buckets. I routinely take things like these mugs and inexpensive forks and spoons to the thrift store, or even to the trash can, when my shelves and drawers get too full. I am wealthy. I’m placing thin dish towels in there, too. I guess my list said “thin towels are fine’” because “thin” will dry faster on the clothesline.
I’m putting bandages and anti-biotic ointment in each bucket. I have Peppa Pig and Snoopy bandaids at my house that are mostly for fun when the grandkids get a tiny scrape or skinned knee. They make boo-boos better fast. I’m pretty sure the bandages and ointment in the buckets will not really be sufficient for the injuries that many of the people who are fleeing Ukraine will sustain. I can’t bear to watch the shelling and the devastation that the bombing has inflicted.
One vegetable brush will go in each bucket, too. I imagine my own friends in Kharkiv who have now moved farther west scraping beets with these brushes and dicing them with the paring knives that are going into the buckets—two per bucket. I think about them washing the diced vegetables for their borsch and draining them in the colander that will be in the very bottom of the bucket. I know my sisters in Christ will not get my bucket, but maybe they will get someone’s bucket. I pray that all my sisters will have enough borsch. I pray that soon they can be nourished again in their own rebuilt houses and flats in their own free country. I’m praying for a shorter path to peace than I fear.
I pray for sustenance for them; sustained hope, sustained food supplies, sustained health and sustained life.
I am also remembering that the sufferings of this life are but for a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17). There is a real sense in which my brothers and sisters who are fleeing Kharkiv are rich, too. People of faith have the substance of the things for which we hope. We have the evidence already of security that we cannot yet see (Hebrews 11:1). There will be safety and security and sustenance and freedom in that country. We desire that country (Hebrews 11:16).