Thursday, April 26, 2007

We Are Blessed

Did anyone happen to watch the "American Idol Gives Back" special on Fox last night? Andy and I did and we were both in tears. It never fails: Every time I see people starving in other countries or suffering from treatable medical conditions, a flood of emotions washes over me and I can only think one thing......I don't do enough.

I am sitting in an oversized leather chair right now with my laptop, eating a bowl of Dora the Explorer ice cream (thank you Landon!) and listening to the music I have playing on one of the cable music channels. The house is air conditioned. My healthy son is sound asleep on the couch across the room from me dressed in one of many cute outfits you could find in his closet (when I've had time to finish the laundry--ha ha!). His belly is full and he has a room full of toys waiting for him when he wakes up.....WE ARE BLESSED.

The American Idol special inspired a cascade of many thoughts in my mind: I take for granted the box of antibacterial hand wipes I always carry in Landon's diaper bag (to make sure I'm prepared to clean up after any "toddler surprises"--LOL-- while we're out at restaurants or parks)....People in Africa live and work in the most filthy conditions and sometimes only have a muddy river with which to cool themselves at the end of a long, hot day. I go to sleep each night complaining about how hard my king size mattress is...They sleep on the floor of dirt huts, surrounded by fifteen other people. While I'm making a larger-than-life grocery list to e-mail to my husband, there are people out there who don't know when their next opportunity to eat might be. Everything around me, from our car to our house to our shoes and toothpaste is a silent reminder not just of how blessed we are, but of our responsibility to give back to the world......How can I complain about anything?

Last night Andy brought me a glass of water and all I could think about were the people who would never see a glass of clear, clean water as long as they live. It is all too easy to go blindly about our lives, oblivious to the tragedy that surrounds us all over the world. I am overwhelmed with gratitude...and with sadness...and with the fear that comes with the idea that there is nothing separating me and my family from the people we call "the less fortunate". We were born here into THIS and they just happened to be born there into THAT....... Why, oh why do we take so, so many things for granted?

Each night, when I lie down to pray with my little boy, I say, "Thank you God for every breath that we take. Thank you for every beat of our hearts. Thank you for every moment that we're alive and for every day we are able to wake up and spend another day together as a family..." I think about these things fairly often, but last night, in particular, marked a turning point for me. I said goodbye to sitting back and watching with pity from my little corner of the world, and decided that from this point on I will DO something--whenever I can, however I can. I will not wait for the next loss to remind me of the gifts which surround me. I will not wait for illness or poverty to strike close enough to home to teach me what life is really about.

Beyond being thankful for our station in life, we should realize that we have a responsibility that comes with that station. Beyond saying a blessing over each meal we eat, we should help provide food to those who have none. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe God has put each of us into a particular financial, material & geographical place for a purpose (no matter how difficult that is to imagine...) and that he will judge us according to how we used His gifts to better the world around us. It begins with our families and branches out according to our own ability. Some of us have money...Some have an incredible talent...Some of us have nothing but the ability to pray and LOVE, but all of us have the same responsibility to help people who are struggling. I hope I am always able to put my thoughts into action & to make a difference, but even more importantly, I hope I am able to instill these same thoughts and sentiments into my son so that he will do the same.


1 comment:

Sharon said...

You bring up great points. So often people, including me, feel there is nothing we have to give, due to hard financial circumstances. But like you said, we can alwyas give our time, prayers (most especially!), and those things mean just as much so often.

I know you're blessed, and I also know you're a great blessing to those who know you. :)