I read Eat, Pray, Love and really liked it.
No, let me rephrase that…
I DEVOURED Eat, Pray, Love and absolutely LOVED it.
I was pulled in by Elizabeth Gilbert's writing, captivated with her travels, and jealous of her ability to take a time out…..for a year! Of course, a hefty book advance helps.
My love for the book made me want to share it, so I loaned the book to my mother who has been holding it hostage for a while. I believe we’re on day 526, but I’m not counting. When hype for the movie started, I asked mom if she ever finished it. She admitted that she had barely cracked it and wasn’t sure she wanted to. When I asked why I could tell she didn’t want to tell me, but after a little prodding she caved.
She didn’t have a problem with the eat (Italy) and love (Bali) sections necessarily. It was the prayer section that gave her cause for pause: Elizabeth Gilbert’s time at a meditation center in India.
“How,” my mother asked, “can you go to India to find God, peace, or religion, and not talk about the immense poverty all around you? How can you turn a blind eye to the suffering and just focus on yourself? I think it’s selfish. And you don’t have to go to India to find God or religion. You can find it right here, wherever you are.”
My mom gave me food for thought. Actually, she made me feel like a heel. Not on purpose. She didn't talk down to me or tell me she didn't raise me to be selfish or unaware. I did it to myself. Why hadn’t I realized there was something missing in that tale of self exploration?
I haven’t stopped thinking about it since our conversation. On the one hand I could relate to wanting to drop it all and go. To focus on nothing but self care and exploration. What makes me thrive? What revives me? What could I accomplish if I didn’t have the daily grind to tend to?
But on the other hand…
This weekend at church our pastor played a video that brought this all home for me. I had heard of TOMS shoes before, but I wasn’t aware there was a mission behind the company. Founder Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina in 2006 to play polo, drink the wine, and basically have fun. He and his friends were staying close to a poverty-stricken area where none of the kids had shoes. None!
He came up with the idea for TOMS while he was there. With every pair of shoes he sells, he gives a pair away. They sold and gave away 10,000 shoes that year. This year they plan to sell/give 300,000.
Blake took this opportunity to open his eyes and make a difference, not just close them and keep the focus inward. What really got me, what had tears form in my eyes - they don’t just drop off the shoes and go. They're not a hit and run charity. They place the shoes on the children’s feet.
That’s true ministry.
You can watch the video about TOMS here.
You can also purchase a pair of shoes here. They have really cute wedges for this fall.
Side note: I wasn’t asked by TOMS or any company or person to post this. Their story moved me enough to want to share it.
Also, I’m still going to see Eat, Pray, Love. Just with a little more awareness.