07 September 2008

So blessed.

We spent a lot of time this week doing very normal things. School, running errands, swimming, playdates, church stuff and so on. It was a good week, but I didn't take any pictures! Okay, I did take a couple, but I think I'll just tack them onto next week's post.

The highlight of my week was having Nilantha's family (same family that fed us last Saturday night) come over so I could help them with some of their paper work for their big move to Canada. I was so happy that they knew they could ask for my help, and loved every minute they were in our home. Jeff had a work party, so it was just me, the kids, and Nilantha with his daughter, Nilanthi, and Dushan, the 8 year old. Jack, Jane and Dushan played steadily for nearly 4 hours without any problems, while the rest of us worked on the paper work.

Going through this family's history and the events of their flee to Thailand is so humbling. They had several successful businesses in Sri Lanka and have had to leave it all for the safety of their family. It's just something I'd never even thought of before I moved here. In the last year, I've met countless people in this type of situation. Yet, they smile constantly, have a wonderful outlook on life, and are so genuine in their love for each other. As much as we love to try and serve these sweet families in one way or another, we always feel like we are getting MUCH more than we could ever give.

I've also been very touched this week by watching what is happening in India and Nepal right now. I was watching CNN at the gym on Monday and almost lost it as I saw these sweet people (who look so much like many of our friends here) having to fight to get on a raft to be taken to safety. I've never had to fight for my life. I've always felt safe and my children have never been in any danger. After seeing things like this, I wonder, "does it really matter if I have artwork on all my walls? Do I really need to have matching linens on each bed? Do I really need to worry about if my shoes always match just right?" Silly questions that have actually seemed to matter at one point, just don't seem as important anymore. Knowing that people are struggling to find their next meal seems to change things a little.

This week, as many of you may know, there's been some political unrest in Thailand. I don't want to say too much about it, but if you're interested, look here for the latest. I've followed it to a point, particularly on the days surrounding many of the schools being shut down. There's been some violence, and many people upset with leaders and each other, but we've never felt any threat of danger. It sounds like the worst may be over, as the official "state of emergency" may be lifted soon. As no one seems to be backing down, it will be interesting to see how/if it is resolved.

Part of me has felt very guilty about never having faced trials like this. We have never had immigration problems. Our homeland, although far from perfect, is a safe and stable place to live. We have never felt the true pain of hunger, and we've always had clothes and shelter. As I was feeling guilty about this, I was reminded of D&C 82:3, "For of him unto whom much is given much is required...". This scripture has really helped me to regain a healthy perspective on life this week. We have a lot that is expected of us, but like I said before, the more we do, the more blessings we feel we receive. Living in Bangkok has presented many opportunities to serve and give like we've never been able to before, but we get so much in return by way of having so many people come into our lives who touch our hearts forever.

I know I've said it a million times, but we've learned so much being here. Although we're stereotypically stuck somewhere in the middle of the "rich expat" lifestyle and middle class Americans, instead of feeling bad for all that we're relatively lacking (when compared to most expats), more than anything, I've recognized how absolutely blessed we are. We have a home, safety, work, the gospel, and we have so many people we love who support us. Honestly, what more could we ask for?


Kellie Openshaw said...

Mindy you are awesome, I love your point of view!

Can't wait to see pictures next week!

Bettie said...

I think it is wonderful how much we learn when we count our blessings. Living here and working with families in poverty has taught me a lot. Not to mention just being around so many people who don't have the blessings of the gospel. I am blessed to even be married to my husband still and to have water to drink.
Thanks for reminding me to count my blessings and forget about how small my apartment is :)

John, Megan and girls said...

What an amazing post! You have such a great attitude and couldn't have put it a better way. Thanks for sharing a great point of view.