Thursday, May 21, 2009

We are not defined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens to us.

Today I met Elijah, Elijah Sebuchu from Kampala, Uganda. Elijah is the eighth of thirty-eight children. His father has twelve wives. His grandfather was chief over 60 villages. He was twelve when he got his first blanket all his own. He was fifteen when he got his first pair of shoes. He was twenty before he knew food was sold in stores. He was over thirty when he met his first westerner. He never had anything. Drinking water was as scarce as food. He has to travel six kilometers to get water and bring it home in a bucket. That water has to be boiled before it can be consumed.

He now runs an orphanage for 460 orphans whose parents have died of AIDS. These orphans just come to him because they are hungry, thirsty and alone. They sleep on the ground or in bushes. Finding shelter is a very big problem for them. Elijah feels blessed and is happy that he has the opportunities he has. When he first came to America in 2007 he couldn't sleep for three days because of the abundance all around him. We water our lawns with water his people would die for. But he is in no way angry. He knows we are blessed so that we can bless others.

WOW, can I be an Elijah? We are all dealing with problems in this down economy. I am certainly no exception. I haven't blogged in several months because I was just heads down trying to cope. I certainly don't mean to trivialize our problems, but maybe put them in perspective. We are blessed to be born and live in one of the greatest countries in human history. We have access to almost unlimited resources, opportunities and ideas.

Plato said "Necessity is the mother of invention." On Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we as Americans very seldom go without the physiological needs of food and water. We seldom truly deal with the issue of true safety on a regular basis. We may at times feel insecure or even afraid, but it is typically transient. The needs that drive our invention are belonging, self esteem and self actualization, the higher needs.

Today I was reminded that I am blessed beyond my comprehension. I will survive and prosper. I always have. I am blessed so that I may bless others.

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