It is with a humble heart I submit my personal response to the postings by Levi Benkert, Lynda Steuer, Jerry Shannon and so many others. I admire my friends daring to live on the $2 per day challenge. My soul longs to embrace the endeavor they have spoken of and have really pondered the idea for days. Levi has been bold in speaking the truth. (I assure you Levi, it would be a lot harder than your challenge to shake me as your friend!)
I have been silent in a response until now, although it does not seem to be any easier to share my thoughts as they are so jumbled. I am quite a logical person; I feel strength in systems, reasoning and order in that they help me find solutions to complex questions. However the idea of feeding my family on $2 in one day, using my logic, I have deemed impossible. Although I would really like to participate, I feel dishonest in committing to such a high calling.
Don’t get me wrong; I have listed below, the food that will feed my family for one day that costs merely $2. I have played the game in a sense and feel so very shallow. Even in my discovery of a $2 day food menu, it does not take into consideration the other luxuries that afforded me this possibility. Let me explain. The food I am preparing does not take into consideration so many other factors and that really leaves my guts churning, thus the reason I have not wanted to commit or comment. I so want to be authentic. For example, my $2 day does not include:
My own car that I drove at my leisure to the store, coupons that brought my pricing down from a friendly attendant that handed them to me at the door. It does not include my gas or my insurance or the nice cozy socks and shoes that I wore with ease. It does not include the electric heat I will use to cook my food that I don’t hesitate to use. It doesn’t include my faucet to wash or the water I will need to boil with. It does not include the bulk in which I can buy items at better prices or the weight I would not be able to carry home if I had to walk. I have an array of spices in my cupboard in which to choose from without any effort what so ever. It does not include the utensils, the plates, the beautiful table that I will sit at with my family, nor the carpet under my feet or the warmth from the furnace that will be blowing as we eat together as a family. My $2 does not include my education that has taught me to read recipes or the computer and internet I used to do research.
I hope you understand I am not trying to be difficult or intentionally push back. I am only trying to say that while I desire to be a player, my heart is broken in that I am painfully aware of so many privileges that I have, that I am not taking into account as this game is played. I feel like a liar for even trying to pretend that I can participate at such a level that I might understand what the majority of the world feels like when they truly live on $2 per day. I truly will never understand.
Feeling hopeless over a calling that seems completely unattainable is not an excuse not to try. My last four years has been given to the desire to live on less. In the beginning the decision was motivated by a declining economy and the recognition that too much was going out. While we stabilized our income and expenses fairly quickly and cut nearly 90% of our spending, the last 18 months has brought a deeper conviction to live on less for the same reason so many want to attempt to live on $2 for one day. In honesty, most people just think we are broke, or crazy or afraid. I assure you, every day we live on purpose to live more honestly than the day before. Even in this journey I feel failure. There is so much pressure from my culture that I still succumb to. My own desires that I give into and rationalize give me grief. I am so thankful for a gracious God who will be patient with me as I continue to grow in resistance to the lifestyle that is afforded to me in America.
I guess if I could give or make a challenge in light of the $2 per day challenge, I would say to my friends, be aware, open your eyes, pay attention to the majority world and join me in having a desire to live on less, to give more and to be fulfilled with a relationship with Jesus. Live a life that matters and ask God to show you how to do that for you and your family.
My projected $2 menu for a family of 5
Breakfast: 5 eggs $.50, 1.25 cups of oatmeal $.25
Lunch: pintos and 5 tortillas $.60
Dinner: Bean soup: back beans, navy beans, pearl barley and black eyed peas. 1/3 lb. $.45 (1/4 cup onion, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, garlic and seasoning, 1T cornstarch) $.20
It still just feels wrong to even attempt to compare myself to a lifestyle that that affords less than $2 per day.