Category Archives: Faith

What is more noble.

She came in again yesterday. Once she would have marched into the store, this time she limped painfully and slowly. The hair that she used to so often fuss about is gone, replaced with a small akubra adorned with a floral scarf.

I often find myself sighing when I see my chatty and fussy regular customers heading in, as I cast a glance at the pile of paperwork and orders waiting to be dealt with. I am polite, friendly even, and always helpful; I like to do my job well. But I am normally so eager to return to my errands so that I can gain the satisfaction of simply checking them off my to-do list; so I don’t normally prolong any irrelevant conversations.

But here she was again, dramatically altered by cancer in just a few weeks, and suddenly the paperwork wasn’t so urgent and her complaints not at all irritating. It wasn’t pity that I felt; it was appreciation, for this person, just as she is, and for the fragility of life.

Why is it that we need an acute awareness of our own mortality to wake us up to what is really important? Why do I so quickly forget the same lesson over and over?

This year, I have known three young people pass away tragically. In each case, it wasn’t their achievements I thought of when I remembered their lives, how academically qualified they were or how big their houses were or how efficiently they did their paperwork; instead, all I thought of was how they influenced others lives.

I have always carried a sense of urgency about life with me; however, for me that urgency has translated into ambition and drive. So I now drag behind me a trail of top university marks (2 subjects ahead too!) and checked off to-do lists and savings in the bank and a sense of failure at not being more successful in life (you know, successful as in I should be writing my fourth book while running a multi-billion dollar corporation that I founded that uses its powers to help bring transformation to injustices within the world while leading an active social life, pursuing my interests in music and circus arts by gigging and fire twirling each weekend and then clown doctoring at the children’s hospital at least twice a week followed by. totally realistic).

But given my current energy restrictions (that a part of me still stubbornly refuses to acknowledge), this single-minded drive has also cost me many friendships, evenings spent laughing rather than staring at a computer screen for hours. It’s led to my poor family having to deal with me tired, cranky and antisocial on a regular basis, and it has worsened my health.

Fair trade off? I think not.

Nothing wrong with working hard…I so appreciate the opportunities we have here. But maybe it’s time to finally take the advice that everyone keeps offering, and cut back on work/study (whoa! scary.) and try to enjoy the journey a little more…so that hopefully I can help others enjoy theirs, too, rather than spending the whole time thinking of my stupid to do list until I arrive at the end of my journey with all my paperwork properly filed and my bucketlist unexperienced and no friends in sight.

So forgive me if I take Billy Joel’s advice some time soon and:
“Slow down, you crazy child.
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while.
It’s all right you can afford to lose a day or two…”

And to the friends that I have neglected due to my overly zealous commitment to study and work, forgive me. Lets have coffee.

“It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.” – Dag Hammarskjold

Need inspiration?
Read about how Henri Nouwen left his job at Harvard to care for Adam, a severely disabled man
Or Mindfulness – the art of conscious living.
Or how a stranger gave me flowers in Guate just when I needed them
Or ask me about the most incredible, resilient girls I once lived with in Guatemala…

xoxo.

Advertisements

The Waiting Game

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. – Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC.

I feel like a bystander.

Frustrated.

I am spending my hours learning, reading, watching, and discussing conflict, wars, human rights abuses, poverty, and basically everything that’s wrong with the world.

And I am spending hours writing essays and preparing presentations on the topics….so that one single tutor can read/listen to them and mark them.

Bystander.

Massacres in Timor-Leste, endemic rape as a weapon of war in the DR of Congo, corruption in every government that exists, massacres (one last week!) in Guatemala, hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty, horrific treatment of asylum seekers in Australia, more slaves in the world than ever before – the world is a nasty place for most people who live in it.

And I am one of the lucky ones. But what am I actually doing about what opportunities I have for these issues?

Bystander.

I know I have chosen to devote the limited energy I have primarily to my studies so that in the future I can hopefully do something significant about some of these things. But I hate waiting – I feel such an urgency to be doing something concrete now – any injustice is too much injustice – any part of humanity suffering should mean we all feel their pain.

How can we incorporate strategic and change invoking activism into our every day lives filled with work and bills and sickness and housework and homework and family? There must be a way. Petitions and fair trade purchases and letters to MP’s barely scrape the surface…

Aaargh – the waiting game. I don’t like it. The clock is ticking.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Wood Between The Worlds

I feel like I have a foot in two completely different worlds at the moment.

Both worlds are doing wonderful things in vastly different ways.

Both worlds have a grasp on some valuable and important truths.

Both worlds can be amazingly frustrating for their short-sightedness.

And here I am, hanging in between, partly plugged into both worlds. Everyone I know seems to either be living in one, or the other; not in both.

And I’m really not sure which one to dive into.

I guess I want it all. If only you really could have the best of both worlds….

I have a feeling though, that this choice isn’t really mine; that actually, one will choose me.

More on street children…

So you probably figured out by now that I feel pretty passionately about giving street children a chance at life…and preventing children at risk from ending up on the streets.

Toybox (the charity I went to Guatemala with) has put together an excellent slide show and interview to take you on a journey into the lives of street children in Guatemala.

Take a minute of your day and get to know these kids (and the people who work with them)…they are all so courageous.

(Since watching the slideshow I can’t stop listening to this song…)

“I’ll fight to the very end!!”


“While women weep, as they do now,
I’ll fight;
while little children go hungry, as they do now,
I’ll fight;
while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now,
I’ll fight;
while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets…
I’ll fight –
I’ll fight to the very end!!”

[ William Booth (founder) ]

Thank God for the Salvos. I am a big fan.

“The Culture That Crawls…”

Here’s another add to my unmet heros and award for awesomeness lists.

He went to Guatemala for a week 11 years ago, and stayed. Now he spends his days getting disabled children wheelchairs, healthcare, and education, amongst other things.

His blog is both heartbreaking & heartwarming.

PS The violence is getting worse in Guate. Please pray.

Walls

You want to know how I feel? I feel like I have hit a wall. Not just hit a wall, but like I have run SMACK INTO a brick wall at FULL SPEED and like I am now lying collapsed in front of it.

NOT COOL.

I get so frustrated because part of me still tends to think that my sickness (ME/CFS) is somewhat mind/over/matter…and as long as I am taking my supplements, eating right, staying positive, and not doing too much then I will be ok.

But apparently this stupid illness doesn’t really care how well you look after yourself and can smack you over the head anytime it feels like it.

But I have issues with this, because I like to be in control…I like to plan my study time, when I will go out, my career, my volunteer work, my travel plans.

But when you have a serious chronic illness it sometimes takes the plans out of your hands.

Like now, when I had a week of planned study and socialising but instead spent most of it in bed trying not to throw up.

Like this summer, when I thought of travelling back to Latin America to source handicrafts for my not-for-profit idea but instead have been told my immune system won’t be up to travelling for months yet.

Or like having to turn down the perfect volunteer/job opportunity that is exactly what you want to end up doing because you simply…can’t…do…it.

It is very easy to feel robbed and to fall into a self-pity funk.

But I am determined not to. This has come as a challenge to my faith.

Do I actually believe that He will cause all things to work together for good? Do I actually believe that my value doesn’t come from what I do/achieve? Do I believe that I have these dreams and passions about assisting street children in Latin America for a reason, and do I have the faith to believe that it will come clear when it’s the right time?

My mum keeps reminding me of the quote…“life is just one crises after another…”…so get used to it!

My head hurts (a lot). My legs hurt. I feel so so tired. I feel emotionally spent. I wish I was anywhere but in bed. I wish I was better prepared for all my exams this week. I wish I was in Guatemala looking after a bunch of children who need it.

But I’m not. And you know, if people in Haiti can find the strength to deal with the devastation of an earthquake and the people of Pakistan can deal with the horrendous destruction of those floods in the midst of intense poverty, then surely I can deal with an illness in a comfortable bed where I don’t have to worry about food or safety.

‎”Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” -[mother.teresa]

I choose faith.