Ten Days Without by Daniel Ryan Day
We’ve all had grand visions of helping the poor, eliminating injustice, and working for peace at one time in our lives. Yet, we forget about these dreams as soon as we line up to purchase our new HDTV. Excess, greed, rampant disregard for others is a hallmark of our society. Yet, the Christian is called to live for more than these fleeting passions. Daniel Ryan Day in his new book, Ten Days Without, seeks to answer that gnawing at our soul for more through a journey to do without. It all started with a question to his wife concerning shoes. What would it look like if you entered a business place as an employee without shoes? This initial question started a quest for Daniel to go without shoes in all places he walked for ten days, while also starting a blog. The amazing response and the concern that talking about change without doing anything about it cut to the heart for Daniel (16-17).
Part of the challenge of this book was seeing Daniel’s ten days without campaigns in connection to issues such as poverty. After going without shoes for ten days, a while later Daniel traveled to Honduras with Compassion International. The poverty was none like he had seen and the effect of shoeless kids and adults was supremely evident. Grimy feet, cuts on your toes, all kinds of terrible and disgusting things happen when live without proper footwear. Going without seemed to impress upon Daniel a more acute awareness for those struggling with devastating poverty around him. Entering into another person’s shoes, or lack thereof, gives you a window into life without all the comfort. I also enjoyed how Daniel told the stories of people who took up the same challenge to go without shoes for ten days. One mom recounts the dirty looks she received for her shoeless attire but also comments on the awful nature of the mulch on the playground (daggers on my feet), (33). We don’t realize how something simple like a pair of shoes provides protection and help from all the elements around us.
Daniel’s line about the homeless cut right to the heart of the issue by saying, “The best gift you can give a homeless person is time without a hidden agenda.” (41) We don’t know how to help the homeless, we often feel pity but don’t want to do anything about it because of the smell or the fear we have. Daniel’s interaction with Abraham was telling due to Abraham’s feeling like this might be another hidden agenda on Daniel’s end to convert Abe. Yet, there seemed to be a real interaction between the two here because of the look of an ulterior motive. The desire to help without strings attached is a great thing in reaching the homeless. Daniel points out that there are homeless people in every locale, we just need to open our eyes and lend our coats. I would point out that in most cases the homeless need someone to talk to, to open up to about life.
I think this book will go a long way in sparking the conversation and action plan of many in the church.
Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.