When was the last time you threw away a piece of bread? Have you ever though about what it means to do that? We as Americans have a very interesting perspective on food, clothing, etc., and I didn’t realize how different it was until I threw away a piece of bread one day here in Ukraine.
My friends an I were out one day playing music in downtown L’viv. No surprise – I got hungry. I went to go buy a hotdog. Now I like hotdogs, but I don’t like hotdog buns, so, after I was don’t eating half of the whole thing, I slurped out the dog, and threw away the bun.
Now – my first mistake wasn’t throwing away the bun but not noticing two grandmas sitting next to the trash can. They started to yell at me like you wouldn’t believe. I had no idea what they were saying (I’d only been in Ukraine for a few months), so I simply figured they were talking to someone else and walked away.
A friend of mine finally explained to me what was going on, and I went back and apologized to them. It was a lesson to me in waste and in culture.
The culture here has, in many ways, been shaped by the events since the Communist Revolution in 1917. In the 1930’s and 40’s, there were a couple of forced-famines here in Ukraine, where the government took everyone’s food. I know people here with stories of digging moldy potato skins out of trash cans to eat them, and much, much worse that I won’t describe. From that time on, food was basically holy to them.
When a grandma sees you throw away bread, guess what her mind goes to?
All that to say – that changed a bit the way I look at food. I try not to be as wasteful. Even of bread is beyond me eating, I try to give it to the birds. I confess, I don’t always do this, but I think it’s a good thing.
We waste a lot of things in America. We throw away things that could be fixed. We spend money to buy things that we already have.
Let’s pray about the wastes in our lives, and ask God to show us how to be better stewards.
(The picture is from a piece of bread that I accidentally left in my backpack for a few days… It was still good so I ate it! :D)