I've had a lot of thoughts going through my mind lately. I've really been wanting to get them out but I don't even know where to start. So I guess I'll just start with where I am right now. I'm sitting in the corner of my living room looking outside. It's warm and sunny outside. I just blew some dust off of the window sill and a feather popped out and started to float melodically just a few inches beyond my reach. Dancing like a tease, moving this way and that way to the lead of the breeze. Beyond the little duo I can see the roof of the red brick apartment across the way. There's a grandpa outside tending to his roses. There's something about watching old people gardening that puts my heart at ease. I guess in that sense I'm lucky that he lives across the way. All I need to do now is go to my window to find a little peace each day.
I recently wrote a story in my church newsletter about the importance of keeping life simple. Lately I've been really meditating on this and trying to apply it to each day. It's been going well, but considering how my life lacks any real stability and security, it's definitely a challenge. You know our 20's are filled with so many thrilling times, but also colorfully peppered with high times of stress and anxiety. Maybe that's just life in general, but I feel as though it applies more heavily to this age groups since we're really only just starting off in life. We're all trying to get there; trying to make it. Despite where "there" may be, we know we need to reach that place where we figure out our calling in life, where we secure a job and a stable life. The path ahead seems so overwhelming at times.
You know a mentor and friend of mine, mister mike knox, once quoted his professor saying, "Don't worry so much about getting an A, think more about doing a good job, and eventually your hard work will pay off." I think in life, we've been programed to think we need to get that A, we need to get that career, but since we're so freaked out about the end result, we get impatient at how much work and TIME it will entail to get there. That whole get rich quick bull we were socialized on is just a fairytale...in life, we have to WORK. So maybe some of you can relate, maybe you can't, but for me personally, this is the story of my life. At the beginning of the year I came to some realizations of what I really wanted to do with my future. Thankfully, I was blessed with some open doors of opportunity. Not big ones, but doors none the less. I was so motivated to keep pushing forward. I guess it wasn't too long before this initial ambition turned into something more. Ambition is good, but I suppose when you lose sight of the reason behind the ambition and become impatient, that's when things can turn sour. I already had a good thing, yet I was plagued with worry and doubt, losing sleep over whether or not things were going to work out. I wasn't really trusting in God, but rather in my own abilities to reach my goal and find quick success. I got a little greedy I guess you could say. On top of that, I was feeling depressed at the fact that I felt like I wasn't moving forward as quickly as I wanted. So I took every small opportunity and ended up burning myself out. There weren't enough hours in the day to handle it all. Thank goodness the past 3 months went by as quickly as they did. I think if it would have gone on any longer, I would have died of exhaustion.
In the midst of the hectic mess I created for myself because of my impatient ambition, I stumbled upon a lecture that knocked some sense into me. You know we tend to get so caught up in ourselves, in what we want, in what's going to make us happy, meanwhile, as we're stressing over sometimes very frivolous things, there are people out in this world who are stressing for more legitimate reasons. We worry about which 40k job in a decaying job market will give us the most happiness when there are mothers who are living on the streets, forced to do unthinkable things to try to feed their children. While we worry about whether or not we should get the sleek blue car with the chrome wheels or the one with a little better gas mileage, there are children who walk miles and miles without shoes from their villages into the city to visit their dying parents in the hospitals. On the lucky days they can ride an over crowded bus without any air conditioning half the way. While we are doing all the calculations and figuring out the budget for a new apartment and complaining about what a headache the process is, there are about 25 million internally displaced people who live in shack towns in the sweltering heat with no real guarantee of ever moving out. While we loath the debt that remains from our high times at university, there are people (too many to count) who barely have a high school degree. This is usually not by choice, but a rather a result of minimal opportunities and lack of funds. While we are getting annoyed at our parents for always trying to nose into our business, there are kids out there who don't have parents, basically living in this big scary world with absolutely no one to protect them. The list goes one. Yet, it is so easy for us to forget about all of these men, women, and children because of how caught up we get with ourselves, and how overcomplicated we make our already privileged lives. Out of sight out of mind.
You know we see pictures like this and we think, aww that's so sad. Some of us at this point have really become desensitized or conditioned to tune it out. But just look at these people and ask yourself, "Is my life more valuable than theirs?" Is it? This is someone's child, someone's parent, someone's dear friend. What do you really think when you see these people; people who really understand true hardship and stress. I'm not trying to make anyone depressed here, but more evoke some sort of positive realization and reaction. I was just reading a story about teenage brides in Afghanistan. A journalist went into the country to cover the story about these girls and what she finds is absolutely insane to think about. When you get a chance you should watch her slide show: http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/blog/emily-bobrow/dont-you-think-shes-little-bit-young/
Anyways, I guess the main point of this was to share some perspective. I'm still trying to gain it. Whether a simple reminder about keeping this simple or a bigger reminder about the needs in this world, take from it what you will.
This little girl is trying to get to a food bank a kilometer away. It's a Pulitzer prize winning photograph but the photographer ended up committing suicide because of the death he witnessed while he documented the Apartheid.