Home > Opinion > Giving hand-to-mouth
2014 is the year of growing faith
2014 is the year of growing faith

Giving hand-to-mouth

It was the generosity of people who had almost nothing which taught Katie Wallis the true meaning of giving.

Last year I spent a few months living in a boarding hostel for high-school girls in India. I sang with them, played with them, studied with them, and occasionally found myself brave enough to eat spicy Indian curries with them. I slept on a mattress so lumpy it seemed like it was made of loose rocks and mosquito nests. I showered with cold, brownish water from a giant bucket in a cubicle with a door that hung loosely off one old rusty hinge.

Katie Wallis: author, musician and member of Centenary Uniting Church.

Katie Wallis: author, musician and member of Centenary Uniting Church.

One night an old scholar from the school invited me to dinner. I travelled by car to her family home in a Chennai slum and was treated to one of the most memorable nights of my life. Her home was a single room—about two metres by three metres—with a tiny adjoining room for bathing. She lived with her two parents and her brother and sister. One single-sized bed sat along the wall. A few of the family would sleep there while the rest curled up on the bare concrete floor—they were the poorest of the poor. A small table was put in front of the bed, and it was there I was seated for dinner. The whole family stood around smiling with anticipation as the mother of the house began to serve me my evening meal. Nobody else ate.

I was having trouble eating correctly with my hands and the mother asked if she could feed me with her own hands so I could comfortably enjoy my meal. Humbling.

After I was stuffed to the point of bursting, the father of the house collected a bowl of water and took my filthy, curry-covered hands in his own. He bathed them in water and rubbed them clean. Humbling.

The servant-hearted Christ met with me in that Chennai slum in the form of my Indian family, and I’ve never experienced a more beautiful display of generosity. I have learned that it is no longer good enough for me to give from my abundance. The beauty of experiencing true generosity—giving from nothing—has changed my life forever.

Katie is an author, musician and member of Centenary Uniting Church. ktmariewallis.com Find more grow faith resources by registering at abigyear.net



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *