Friday, June 13, 2008

Flood Perspective

This morning I watched the TODAY show as I drank my coffee and fed the baby. They had continuing coverage of the floods in Iowa. They interviewed a young mother with nine children who had lost her rental home and all her possessions in the flood. She had no where to go and no money. I cried for her. I know this story can be replicated over and over all across the world right now with floods and earthquakes and tornadoes and fires. Often all that survives these disasters is a tiny flicker of the strength of the human spirit. Who can forget the people of Hurricane Katrina?

Suddenly, more perspective wrapped in gratitude is dropped in my lap. Oh how silly and selfish I am when I fixate on the trials of my life. I am blessed beyond measure. And I ask myself the question, "How do my tears translate into living my life?" Does it go any further than a sympathy or a prayer? What am I teaching my girls about moving outside their worlds into the lives of others for greater good? As we have experienced difficulty the past year one of the truest blessings has been the outreach of others to us. Family, yes, but also people who for whatever reason were touched by our situation and chose to make sacrifices of their own to help us. Often it was not the people you might expect, but the people who themselves had very little reaching out to us. I understand this now. I truly believe when our lives become so full of things and ambition for things and our time is ruled by all the efforts to acquire those things we often feel the poorest of all. This leads to a deficit of empathy for others who in reality have so much less than we do. Worst of all it leaves no room for gratitude for all we already have been blessed with. I have been there.

So, what can I do? In the middle of working from home, caring for my family and yes, moving, is there room in my heart and life to put this perspective into action? Maybe not in Iowa, not today, but I know through Christ I can begin to "be the change I wish to see in the world." (Gandhi) I showed Delaney some children on Compassion International today, and she saw a few she was drawn to. We talked about how they don't have the food they need to eat or clothes to wear and they don't get to go to school. We discussed how giving up a movie or a Webkinz and a trip to McDonalds could actually help do that for them. I told her we could write letters and pray for them everyday. We talked about how we would have to sacrifice a little but how happy it would make our hearts and God's heart. (James 1:27) Each drop really can make a river. Whether it's a flood of hope and love to one or to many, it will change lives.

Thank you for the perspective you have given me today. I praise you for the riches you have blessed me with and ask you would help me know where to share my time and talents and resources with others to make the most difference. Help me exemplify gratitude and giving to my girls.

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