Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unloading groceries and DNA. A rather convoluted post. More so than usual, even.

Sometimes, gratitude comes in strange ways at strange times.  Like unloading groceries from my car at 9:30 at night.  Feeling grateful for the beautiful Virginia beach weather today.  Feeling grateful that a loving husband was upstairs tucking in three healthy children.  Feeling grateful that there is always enough money to buy not just food...but luxuries like organic chicken and pre-cut potato wedges. 

Our life is so filled with abundance that I can feel at a loss as to where to spread the overflow.  I can have moments of feeling ashamed, like I'm not grateful enough.  I'm not aware enough on a minute-by-minute basis.  But at the end of the night, I do understand, on a soul-level, that this is not the life of most of the world. 

What to do with that awareness, I'm not always sure.

Our life isn't opulent, but it feels like it when I'm immersed in the global perspective.  We keep budgets on Excel spreadsheets and work normal-people jobs and try to keep decisions scaled within income. But when we need something, I know we can get it.  If my child needs something, I know we'll make it happen. 

The Lost Boys' Director sent around an email this week.  There's a boy in one of the African boarding schools, a 6th grader, who is losing his eyesight to juvenile glaucoma. All the sight in one eye is gone, the other eye is quickly catching up.  They called his mother to come see him, so he could see his mom one last time before going blind.  We're scrambling to come up with $2000 for a surgery for him ASAP, to spare whatever sight we can. 

When I think of these things going on every second of every day all over the world, it's easy to become overwhelmed.  We can pitch in money to help him, I can forward it to some friends who can help, and we can help this one little boy.  But then there's another behind him, and then another and another. 

I have been carrying this in my heart today, as a backdrop to this completely suburban-mom day. I even used my gift certificate at Starbucks. There are little boys in Kenya going blind, and yet I'm sipping on a Starbucks waiting to have my hair professionally bleached.  Yes, it's odd.

Finding balance in my own life and our own path, while also creating awareness of the Need out there, is likely going to be a lifelong journey.

I know it's because of my brothers' handicaps, my genetics, that I feel this so strongly.  That I MUST do something, even when I don't know what it is.

My DNA was wired to have a 50/50 chance of the Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy they have.  The mental handicaps that came with it for my generation's level of the disorder.  So I can sit here and feel like the ability to create salary or to build a family or all these other variables of my life are actually hard work or effort, but really it was the crapshoot of not inheriting the DNA that gave me a 70 IQ. 

My brothers' paths are 95% about genetics, and not about anything they did or a lack of effort.  Craig collected carts at a grocery store while I was going to graduate school for economics.  Same gene pool, but one little gene out of place. 

DNA, geography, family background, so many things.  And feeling grateful for so many of those variables in my life, I can't just sit and do nothing. 

In my teenage years, there was guilt about it, and there was definitely the threat of it becoming the primary emotion back then.  I don't feel that guilt now.  I feel the responsibility, though.  Somewhere along the way, I think I realized that guilt wasn't super productive.  Throwing myself into helping underdogs seemed to replace that guilt with a feeling of ownership instead.

My children are growing more independent.  No one is nursing anymore, everyone can fall asleep with Daddy, they can play as a trio for long periods in another room.  And my psyche can feel all this Stuff brewing, and it's about to explode all over my life.  I can feel it.  A volcano of life-shifts. 

I think 2011 is going to be a very interesting year.

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