There are only eight days left in this Pick Five simplification. So few a number that AP guidelines says I have to spell it out instead of using the number 8. So few days I can use my hands to count. So little time that I can feel it sifting faster through the hourglass, narrowing its top half, becoming speedy and efficient in the final seconds.
And I don't want to leave Pick Five. I have developed Stockholm syndrome for my five captors. Although there were times I felt threatened by this process, there have been many acts of kindness, mercy, and protection that God has offered me through the experience. How can I go back? How can I eat fried chicken wings and chips and dip and pizza and wash it all down with a couple of beers at the next football game? (Well, I can't do that yet. My stomach would definitely fight back at this point.) How can I look at an ice cream sundae? How can I not feel a pang in my stomach for the hungry all over the world the next time I wolf down a pile of pasta?
Let me just say this. My dad said it to me in love. And it completely crushed me.
THERE IS NO DAY 41 IN ZAMBIA.
I hold that phrase in my hands like a child holds a dead bird or a dying puppy that was too weak to make it past birth. All I can do is stare at it and feel pain. I feel helpless. Lost. What do I do with this? Daddy, fix it.
And I guess that's just it. One more lesson. I can't fix it all. But I care. I care more now than I ever have. And if I care, it moves me to do something. If I think about the abundance when I get overwhelmed at the grocery store or in a restaurant, it will bring me back to this place right here, and I can choose simplicity over extravagance. If I think about the hungry here and abroad, I will narrow my grocery budget and use the difference to help someone else eat. If I think I need this one more thing to make my life complete, I can think of the millions of people who are without it and doing just fine. And I will pray and petition to the Creator of the Universe about the rest of it, to do what only He can. Daddy, fix it.
Which brings about a new fear. (I think I need post-traumatic Pick Five counseling.) What if that which I feel right now, this pain, this caring, this raw and basic desire to simplify and help others... what if it goes away?
So, for those of you who pray for Pick Five, who pray for me, don't worry about whether or not I'll be able to finish out my final days. At this point, I'm all in. I'm more concerned about what comes after. Please pray for that.