Yesterday morning I woke up to a cold, crisp sunny day-- bundled myself up with mittens and jacket and scarf and walked my dogs along the horse trail that runs alongside the hills that encircle my home. I sent my kids off to school well fed with sandwiches, fruit, protein bars and water. I took a hot shower and headed off to a job I love in my luxury car. After fasting all day, I drank a chalky liquid so I could have contrast dye inserted into my veins and get transported through a tube that sent laser beams into my body to see if I am still cancer free. After being charged the $250 co-pay for this service, I came home to open a stocked refrigerator to make a warm pasta meal for my boys who came home from soccer try outs and lacrosse workouts. My boys went to bed with their stomachs full, in soft beds and a safe home.
And yet yesterday, and today, and last week—our world does not share the safety, the comforts and the ease of my seemingly idyllic life. And it isn’t just about the attacks on Paris or Beirut or Lebanon….it isn’t just about the refugees across the world, scrambling to find solace or shelter or a better way of life. It isn’t about the genocide in Africa, the oppression in China, the fear of those in the inner city, the hurting families of police officers across America. It isn’t only about the abused women and the incarcerated and the homeless and the drug addicts. It isn’t about the daily struggles of the children who are teased and ridiculed because they are different—physically or socially. The list could go on….whatever passion or cause or injustice that rocks your world—the world is broken….it is hurting….it is shaken.
And I, I go about my business. I complain that the co-pay for my CT scan is too high. I complain that it has taken two months to authorize my upcoming surgery. I complain that my boys forage through my neatly folded pile of clean clothes instead of putting them in drawers where they belong. I complain when someone isn’t as organized as I want them to be. I complain that I have way too much excess in my closet and my pantry.
Last Friday, when bombings took place across France, and the world watched in horror, politicians used it as a campaign tool. Others took hits at our allegiance to France by saying that we should look at all the other injustices in the world. And on Friday in our sweet little community of Poway, another classmate of my son lost his father to cancer. A wife and three kids will never see their dad again while on earth. Their dad won’t be there for their upcoming sports’ events, or graduation or weddings. While the rest of the world followed headlines and discussed terrorism and “World War Three” and “when is it going to come to America?” this family’s world was changed forever.
Last week, social media went crazy over a minimalist red cup. At the same time, a friend of mine sits at Children’s Hospital while her daughter has continued seizures—a daughter who has been confined to a wheelchair her whole life, a little girl who has never uttered a word.
My blog began 2 ½ years ago because my life was changed with a cancer diagnosis and my thoughts and my heart have never been the same since. My blog has never been intended to be political or to have any answers. My blog has always been about my simple thoughts on a life meant to be lived fully and with gratitude. My blog has been a reflective way for me to continually review my perspective when the world seems so unfair and cruel.
And so today, this day, this day that is a gift, let us shift our perspective. If you woke up today, be grateful. If you put on something warm or made yourself some food, be grateful. If you drove a car, or went to work or were able to exercise because your body still functions, be grateful. If you tucked your kids in at night, be grateful. If you turned on a light or turned a faucet to hot or cold, be grateful.
Politicians, activist groups, fanatics and extremists all have agendas….but the reality is that each of us faces our own brokenness, our own hurts, our own trials. The answers aren’t simple—but it starts with a few simple things: hope, love, and prayer.
No matter what the headline, what the fear, what the injustice, there is hope. We have seen it time and time again throughout history. No matter what the circumstance, there is love. There are people who take risks and reach out and help.
And it is time for each of us to cry out, to lament, to pray. Pray for our friends who are hurting, pray for the injustices in our cities, pray for the oppression in many parts of the world, pray for those who are running from their homes because they are no longer safe, pray for wisdom and discernment with our world leaders, no matter what political stance you take.
With hope, with love, and with prayer must come action. If you see injustice or hurt, don’t just go about your day, but seek to help. If something stirs you to anger or frustration or fear, then pray and find a way you can act upon it. Whether it is gathering blankets for the homeless, or tying a blue ribbon on a tree in solidarity for police officers, or buying a gift for a teen mom and her baby, or giving your money to an organization you believe in, or writing a card of encouragement, or delivering a meal….turn your faith and love into action.
Instead of posting rants and having debates over cups and temporary profile pictures on social media, let’s change our perspective and become people of prayer and action. Don’t just talk about, don’t just post about it, don’t just make it Insta-worthy, BE a person who initiates change….start in your circle and watch the impact grow.
Our hearts, our families, our communities, cities, and nations are broken and hurting. We live in dark and senseless times…..and God is here. He is in control even if we choose to blame Him and curse Him for the fanatical actions of sinful humans. When injustice and poverty and oppression are prevalent in every part of our world….there is hope and it is in God.
As I fought cancer and didn’t know if I would see my boys graduate or play another soccer game, I found my solace and my hope and my refuge in God’s Word. And I passed this hope and faith onto my children.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62: 7-8.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring…and neither do you. But today I choose to put my hope in a God who promises to be my refuge, my shelter, my fortress, my tower of strength. And with that faith I will pray for our world, and I will put my faith into action, and I will make a change and an impact for the causes I believe in. That cause or belief may be different for you…but I pray that you will rise up, change your perspective, be grateful for what you have…and go out and make a difference.