Inspiration and Sadness

During my breaks at work, I like to peruse the articles on Yahoo!  It clears my brain (or perhaps numbs it, depending on what I choose to read.)

This week, I read an inspirational story about author Kathryn Stockett.  If you haven’t heard of her, you just might live in a cave deeper than the one I’m holed up in.  She’s the author of The Help, which was made into a movie just released a few days ago.

I haven’t read The Help, but I plan to – especially after knowing what she went through to get her book published.  I sent out queries on my first novel.  I honestly don’t know how many for sure, but I’m guessing around thirty.  Kathryn Stockett claims to have received sixty rejections from literary agents.  Sixty.  And she didn’t give up.  I am in awe.

Over five years, she edited and revised the novel – it had become an obsession of sorts.  She persevered and succeeded.  Her story gives me hope that I might catch my dream – when I apply myself.

~

image by John Moore - Getty Images

As I previously mentioned, I live in a cave.  Okay, I live in a house, but I’m fairly insulated from the happenings of the world.  I’m familiar with the domestic affairs, like the stock market roller coaster, debt downgrading and politics as usual, but I’m not as familiar with global issues.

I read two disturbing stories that brought tears to my eyes, which was embarrassing because nothing good ever comes from tears shed within cubicle walls.  The first story reported that two mothers in Kenya got in a fist fight because one cut in line as they waited for their children to be treated for malnutrition. The second story was also about Kenya.  This time, I read about how families are unable to care for all of their children, so the ones who are too sick are left to die.

A three-year-old weighing less than thirteen pounds is heartbreaking.  My own children weighed that at two months old.  They have never passed out from hunger or even missed a meal.  I have never had to wait in line for hours to get medical treatment for anything, much less a supplement for malnutrition.   And, thankfully, I’ve not be faced with the wrenching decision of leaving a child to die in hopes that others would survive.

With the stock market fluctuations, I’ve grown more concerned about 401K balances and the ripples that are bound to shake the economy in the coming months.  Money is not abundant, but we have a house to live in, water to drink and enough food to eat.  The plight of those in Africa puts my worries in perspective – they are miniscule in comparison.

Click to hear “My Own Little World” by Matthew West.   It is a song about what we see when we look beyond ourselves, and it rings true for me.

What inspired you or saddened you this week?  What do you think of “The Help” (book or movie)?  How connected to world events (including the famine) are you?  Please share your thoughts 🙂

Giving Thanks

Since it is Thanksgiving, it’s natural to remember and be thankful for the obvious things:  family, friends, food (the 3 f’s) and, in this economy, a place to live and a job.  I think of these things daily anyway, so I wanted to take a different approach on this day made for giving thanks.  I’ve made up a short list of not-so-obvious things I am thankful for.

  • Worries and troubles of others.  Of course I am thankful for the friends and family who share their burdens with me (that’s an obvious one.)  But I am thankful for the chance to share compassion and empathy with those people – and reap the reward of feeling like I made a difference in someone’s life that day.
  • The Obnoxious Driver (this is a type of person rather than an individual, because I encounter them nearly every day.)  I am thankful for these people because they give me an opportunity to practice patience and forgiveness; two things that I can never practice too often.
  • Those with differing views and opinions.  I am thankful for the people who are not like-minded because they remind me that I don’t always have to agree to get along.  It’s okay to have a different opinion, listen to each side’s argument, still disagree, but then shake hands and move on.
  • The smile or “hello” from a stranger.  I am thankful for the brief, but still special encounters with people I don’t know because it gives me hope that we’re not a hostile society (yet).
  • Pain of loss.  I am thankful for the excruciating pain of losing someone dear to me because I appreciate those I love who are still with me even more.
  • Yesterday.  I am thankful for yesterday because if I look closely enough, it will give me clues about my tomorrow.  I will find hints about how I can make someone else’s day a little happier.
This might be a turkey (compliments of younger son)

Feel free to add to the list with a comment.  Happy Thanksgiving 🙂