What do you complain about most? How about just today? Cell phone coverage? Slow restaurant service? Bad drivers? Too much laundry? We all do it. And we do it frequently, many times without a second thought. So today, my goal is to make that second-thought become your first.
I don't claim to be an expert in this area. However, I have been exposed and experienced it numerous times firsthand. I've had the honor of serving in over 12 countries from Romania to Hungary to Dominican Republic to Haiti to Guatemala to India to Uganda to Tunisia and a handful more in between. I don't say this to boast but to show that I've seen poverty with my eyes, not from a distance but within my reach.
I've held a soiled toddler that weighs the same as a baby due to malnutrition and neglect. I've stood beside kids waiting in anticipation for the community well to be fixed so their mile-long walk was fruitful. I've run down hills to visit women laboring in the heat in the rice field. I've hugged the woman who stood in the landfill which she called home. I have walked the mountain where homes stood before a natural disaster nearly took everything from the people, including the breath from their body. I've been welcomed in huts, tents, shacks, and even this one-room damaged brick structure (below) where some of the most remarkable people reside.
I have no excuse. And technically . . . you don't either.
I feel it is my calling, my responsibility to share my experiences and challenge others to see life through a new looking glass. To realize your problems many times fall into the category as "first world problems" (those of you living in the U.S.). I realize it's hard when reality is perceived from a distance. We separate ourselves or quickly by-pass the images and videos and ads we see asking for help. This is one reason why I have a passion for photojournalism . . . to bring a bit of the world to everyone's door. To shed light on the beauty in the world's brokenness. To help you see that life is more than what you think it is. To be thankful for even the little things that grace your life.
So when your dinner is just not hot enough or your dryer breaks mid-way through a cycle or you got a permanent stain on your favorite dress or the ice melted quickly in your glass or you had to wait for a bathroom stall to open up . . . remember those who are surviving on much less and to be honest, many times, with much more gratitude than you.
Before you complain . . . Be thankful. Be satisfied. Be aware that it's just not that bad.