Friday, March 16, 2012

Blessing or a Curse?

About a year ago, I was approached by African Promise Foundation (APF) to do photos for their new website. I was aware of APF before and was always intrigued by their work. It has been rewarding photographing the beautiful jewelry that is the base for their foundation. In the process, I have grown a wonderful relationship with my beautiful friend, Kristi, who agreed to model the jewelry for me. Never did I imagine these two events would lead me to never look at the world the same way again.

Suzy, the president of APF, caught my excitement for her foundation and mentioned that I should join them this summer on their next trip to Uganda. It didn’t take much twisting of my arm and I was in. I extended the same offer to Kristi and instantly she was re-looking her busy schedule to see how she too could go. I began grabbing all the reading material and documentaries I could get my hands on to inform myself on Uganda, its struggles and needs. Only 1 video and 1.5 books into my quest, I was overcome by a great sadness. NEVER have I read such horrors in my life. NEVER have I been more grateful for my own trials.

October 29, 2011, I was at Kristi’s house setting up my lighting equipment for her annual Halloween party. This event was more than a party, it was a charity event for the Cancer Research Fund. This cause is very close to Kristi’s heart because she lost her mother to breast cancer a few short years prior. Hours before the party, Kristi arrived home but never entered the doors. A few moments later, her husband, pail with shock, asked me to meet Kristi outside. I ran through the pouring rain and jumped in her car next to her. It was apparent something was horribly wrong. Just minutes earlier she had learned from her doctor what no 35 year old, mother of 4 should ever hear.

I have often whined that my boobs are too small UNTIL recently, my beautiful friend lost both of her breasts to cancer.

Numerous times I have complained that my stomach and thighs are too big, BUT that means I have food to eat, abundant amounts at that.

I’ve lamented, “I wish I had a bigger home, 1500 sq ft is too small for a family of 5. I wish the kids had a play room for their toys and I had my own quiet work space.” My kids HAVE toys to play with, enough to fill a room of their own. My house has heating, electricity, water, soft beds and cushy carpet. I have work, as does my husband.

I thought starting a day exhausted, from staying up too late watching TV, was a challenge. BUT, my slothfulness was a choice, not multiple surgeries or toxic medications holding me down.

I’ve griped over my interrupted time from having to pick-up and drop-off kids on different school schedules. My kids GET an education, PLUS they don’t have to walk miles each night to a safe place to sleep and miles again each morning to get that education.

I have cried because I have “nothing to wear.” I HAVE countless shirts, pants and shoes that have never seen the outside of my closet in years!

I get it. We all live in our own reality. We only know what we have lived and many of these “challenges” are in fact real to us. I know we all have much greater burdens to bear than the petty list I have made above and I am in no way minimizing those real trials. No human being is exempt from pain and struggle, no matter where God put us on this planet. But what I hope to take from these experiences (and new ones to come) is to reevaluate what I have labeled a curse and begin seeing them for what they really are, a BLESSING!

1 comment:

Ames said...

Beautiful entry! Your postings about Africa on Facebook led me to your blog ... and I am grateful because you inspire me to continue to look beyond myself and to be grateful. Thank you for sharing.