This has been a stormy few weeks. The agency had no updates this week. We think the chances are good that we will eventually get our children, but we are feeling discouraged by the wait. Besides that issue, some of the people we love most in the world are going through some very tough things. Our close friends are still grieving the loss of their baby. Other friends are dealing with infertility. Marriages are falling apart. Our hearts hurt for those we love.
I am an optimistic person by nature. Always have been, sometimes annoyingly so. I’ve done some thinking into why I am this way.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression- I have rough moments. I’ve cried myself to sleep. I’ve lashed out at Mark in anger. I’ve had days where I feel sorry for myself and question why bad things are happening. These moments are real, but they are fleeting. I don’t let myself go down that path for an extended period of time.
It’s all about perspective.
I read about the drought in Africa, and how families that flee it sometimes have to make choices to leave a sick child behind in order to give another child a chance at life. I read about women are killed because their families are ashamed that they were raped. I read about families that are killed trying to escape their desperate situation. I read about children who are forced to join armies and kill their friends. I read about women who are forced into prostitution and forced to sleep with many people a day. I read about men who take farming jobs to provide for their families, only to be forced into working around the clock for almost no pay. I read about innocent civilians that were killed in war. I read about the millions of people who die from things like diarrhea.
Suddenly my problems seem very, very small.
These are not made up stories or stories that affect a small percentage of the world’s population. They are happening today. They are happening to billions of people. They are happening in the United States and in places a 16 hour plane ride away.
I think about all the things I have been given. My husband. My mother, father, sister, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephew, grandparents. My health. My house. My job. My clothes. A refrigerator full of food. The opportunity to travel. My car. The ability to see a doctor when I get sick. My TV. My friends. My small group. My church. My God. My dogs. My murderous cat. I was born in the richest country in the world. I have never been truly hungry. I have the weekends off. I have plenty of opportunities to relax. I can safely walk around my neighborhood. A good chunk of my schooling was paid for. I had the opportunity to go to school. I didn’t have to work as a young child to provide for my family. I got to enjoy lazy summers. I have as much clean water as I want. Climate control. I was brought up in a way that allowed me to trust others. I have enough extra money to save for vacation, save for retirement, give some away, and still have enough to go out to eat or do fun things. My computer and all the things I can access with it. My phone that connects me with others. Electricity. Green grass outside my door. Never being reasonably afraid that my city will be bombed or attacked.
I have been given a LOT.
So when I feel down, I let myself feel down for an hour or a day. I do have real problems, and I react to them in real ways. We all do. But if I feel myself getting into a funk, I start to do some serious reflecting. I volunteer with those that have less than I do. It doesn’t make my problems any less hurtful, but it does help to remind me that billions of people- billions- would gladly trade me positions. In spite of whatever is going wrong, I am truly lucky and blessed.