Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Finding hopes among frustration

Graced with challenges. It's a hard notion to cope with, that a frustration, large or small, might play out for a greater good.

It's a notion though that I'm watching time and time again play over as I watch the victims of the recent floodings in our county.

"Sometimes God's blessings are hard to see. This was certainly true as many of us were watching the waters come through our homes," noted the founders of a local organization devoted to getting the homeless on their feet. The couple themselves lost everything in the floods.

But, they wrote in this week's church bulletin, they can see the blessings in it: "We did not need the stuff we had anyway, and we thank God for making it easy to throw it away."

The couple's amazing attitude is a strong lesson for myself, as we are ending month two of being an unexpected single-income family. With this, I'm forcing myself to take serious stock of what we own, what we need and how we spend the resources we have. I've become a more creative cook, cleaned out my freezer, squelched my desire to stock up on handmade candles or soaps at the farmers market (and admittedly, am still using the ones in the freezer from last summer). Free time has been reassessed. Netflix is gone; instead, we go to the library or, heaven forbid, play outside. Making positive changes in our lives, however small, makes a larger impact on our children's developing attitudes towards "stuff," and hopefully, how we take care of the world around us.

A time of crisis, large or small, is an opportunity presented to take stock of your lives, whether spiritual, emotional or even environmental. It's a chance to see the waste we create and see how they might more positively impact those around us.
  • The clothes, still in great condition, that you never wear? Send it on to someone you need.
  • The baby items you've hung onto "just in case" or for sentimental reasons? Find it a loving home.
  • The extra furniture that just clutters up your room? It would make a happy home for a family re-establishing itself after losing everything in the floods.
  • That morning Starbucks, added up over a week, could be $20 that is needed at a local food pantry.
This week, I encourage you to find a little more gratitude toward the gifts we have, great and small, and look to find ways to stretch our resources to help those in need. When headlines such as the American Red Cross, which responds to disasters in this country, is going broke, we all need to reassess how we might use our resources for the greater good.

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