I have been thinking today about something….I’m not sure how it’s all connected, but here goes:
I can’t help but want to slap some people upside the head sometimes.
My mom grew up in a 3rd World Country. Have you ever been to a third world country? Not on some eco-tour where all you saw was fancy-schmancy dog and pony third world country stuff. Did you ever see people starving, living in dirt, wearing rags? Ever been pursued by begging children sent out by their parents or pimps? Have you ever been asked for your clothes? Ever seen kids tortured because of their relatives’ jobs? Have you ever been treated like a second-class citizen because you were a woman?
I have some relatives who also grew up in a third world country, but they somehow never taught their children what that was about. Then the kids went on missions….and learned. I remember reading a letter of shock that one of them sent home and thinking, “Helllooo! How could your mom not tell you about this? Where did you think she came from?”
Life for many in these places isn’t about what to wear to the yoga class, or the co-op meeting. Life is not about fixing up the house, or money or success or retirement nest eggs to them. It’s about survival. Every. day. For their entire life. Death is the only end.
My grandparents lived through the Great Depression. They had an experience that formed them into the “Greatest Generation.” They lived with nothing, and were grateful for what they did have later in life. Others have survived communism, civil war, genocide, catastrophic natural disasters and more. In general, my generation has never had to do without anything here in the ol’ US. Sure, we depend on the government for everything, but that’s not the point today. The world was much larger back then for my grandparents. For us, it is small. We don’t have the Great Depression to learn lessons of humility, gratitude and blessings. But we can travel, or take advantage of someone else’s travel, to help us realize just how much we have to be thankful for. I love to travel off the beaten path. Yes, Paris is lovely in spring, but I love to see more. I love to see God’s children and how they live. If nothing, it makes me appreciate my own life more, and hopefully be more productive with it.
I recently picked up a discarded and free copy of an old Nat Geo magazine at our local library. One of the articles was about child brides. It has disturbed me for several days now. But what disturbs me most this particular day is that so many people in the Western world, (ok US of A in particular today) are so self-absorbed and ungrateful….especially those who should know better. Yes, I mean you LDS peeps. Do you not know that because of who you are/were, you were blessed to be born into THIS country? How do you not know that? Do you even realize how much that means? Not just the freedoms we enjoy today, but the culture (though on the demise). It can still compare to none. Hello! The Promised Land? Think Lehi came up with that name because he thought it had a nice ring to it??
Watched any real world news lately? That’s not even half of what most people on plant earth endure every day. I don’t care how bad you think you have it, or how bad you actually do have it. Being born and living in the USA is literally Providence and a blessing that you cannot deny. Born in the Church?? HOW can you discount that ‘coincidence’ in you life? How can you take that for granted? Do you know how big a deal that is? How can you brush it aside? Talked to a new convert recently? Been to the temple recently? Regularly? Read your scriptures faithfully? Pray? That’s a good place to start.
When I turned 30 I had a bit of a life crisis. I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything in my life. I was angry, depressed, and unhappy. I felt stuck in a rut of mundane tasks every day. I didn’t know for sure what to do with the rest of my life. Whose fault was that for feeling that way? Mine. Was I doing the things that were going to make me happy? No. Whose fault? Mine. Did I abandon ship? No. I swallowed some humble pie and started to do those LITTLE things that would lead me to be happy. What was going to make me happy? It wasn’t about having a successful career, wearing pants to church, climbing a tall mountain, or plastic surgery, or championing liberal rights, winning a race, working out or being popular among the ‘mom’ club. You can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t try. You have to have some standards. Jesus loves everyone, but it’s not ‘everything goes’ with Him, either. Being happy comes from inside. Peace comes from within. When you realize who you really are, there is really only one way to find happiness.
President Uchtdorf said, “Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self.” You can read the rest of it here. You should read the rest of it. It’s not long.