The light on the end table in our bedroom turned on at 2:00 in the morning. It was six feet from our bed. We do not have a clapper.

I asked my wife if she turned it on. Nope. I asked the dog. Nope.

My wife told me it was a sign. I had to wake up at 4:00 AM to catch a flight to Haiti to meet desperately hungry school kids in a village called Balan. She reminded me of this verse:

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)

 We’ve lived in that same house with that same lamp for ten years. That lamp never turned on by itself before; it hasn’t since. That was five years ago the light turned on by itself.

 Several years earlier, I met a starving girl in Nicaragua who prompted me to make a vow; I would spend the rest of my life getting as many people as I could to feed as many hungry people as I could.

I’ve been in the hunger-space for quite some time now and think the people who work on these issues are some of the greatest people I’ve met. Oh, sure, I’ve met a couple of jerks, but by-and-large the people who work in this space are delightful. When compassion is the thread that unites people, goodness is the result of their activity.

Hunger is a bi-partisan issue. All religions believe feeding hungry people is a good thing. Scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, business people, factory workers, educators, and people from all walks of life- especially the poor- try to figure out how to feed hungry people.

If you’re looking for a purpose in life, may I suggest feeding the hungry? You don’t have to go all-out like I do; that’s just my nature. But you can do a lot of little things. Volunteer at the food bank; serve at a soup kitchen; have a meal-packaging event; make a donation to someone who feeds the hungry; pay your workers enough to live on; help a poor family get their kids educated; Plant a Row for the Hungry. If these ideas aren’t enough, email me, there’s more where those came from.

Any effort- no matter how small- matters to you and to the person you’re trying to help.

Your bedroom lamp might not turn on in the middle of the night, but I bet you find the sun shining in your life is brighter than before.

I used to want my epitaph to read: See, I told you I was sick.

Now I want it to read: He loved well and fed a lot of hungry people.

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Photo: mine