This evening I wanted to write about achieving success or finding your dream career or perhaps about creating a lifestyle but I’ve been struggling to put any valuable ideas on paper. Typically I offer a list of solutions or things to consider. You know the drill: Ten Ways to, Seven Best Ideas for, Follow These Three Things to this or that.
I’ve been blogging to help others like myself, expansionary-minded and service-oriented entrepreneurs, find solutions to daily challenges. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path and even lonelier when you have a service-full heart. For me, it’s reassuring to find other bloggers who can offer support or understanding. It’s also comforting to know that I’m not alone in this niche profession.
It occurred to me that the reason I couldn’t come up with anything to write is that I’ve been trying to think of something using my head instead of being led by my heart. It’s a good reminder to tap into our inner beings every-so-often. Tonight I offer a story, instead of a list, that I hope will help you to put things into perspective next time you’re facing a problem.
I love humanitarian work. Whenever I can, I volunteer to assist homeless individuals. I’ve been blessed to serve in places like Rwanda, Kenya, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia as well as at home in the United States. I love to build houses. There is something about home ownership that calls out to me. To give someone this gift is priceless.
In 2006 I had the opportunity to go to Rwanda as a volunteer with a church group. The purpose of the trip was to monitor programs sponsored by the congregation. We would be working with child-headed households and single women suffering from AIDS.
For months before the trip, I prepared by attending protocol workshops, learning basic words in the Kinyarwanda language, reading about the history of the country and absorbing important cultural facts.
At the time I visited, most of the country’s population was under the age of thirty as a result of the 1994 genocide that killed nearly one million people over the course of ninety days. This atrocity was the culmination of longstanding tensions between two tribes, a mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu by members of the Hutu majority. Other than a small United Nations peacekeeping force on the ground headed by Canadian Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, the call for help by Rwandans went unheard by the rest of the world.
One day, on this two-week journey, we visited a family living on one of the many summits that this country is known for, the land of a thousand hills. The van stopped quite a distance away from our destination because it could not make the climb. We got out and walked the rest of the way. The mountain was very steep and it was particularly difficult to ascend with heavy loads on our backs.
A girl about twenty years old greeted us. She was the head of her household and was raising her younger siblings. The tiny home was made of mud and had a dirt floor. The interior was bare except for a calendar on the wall with a picture of Jesus. They owned only the clothes they were wearing. The garments were frayed, full of patches and there were no shoes in sight.
The translator explained that these children daily forage for their food and water. The river, where they fill the containers, is a few miles away. I couldn’t fathom making this trek every day and carrying these heavy vessels on my head. The soil in this part of the country is very acidic, very few things grow in it and I wondered about their diet. Although they seemed healthy, they were stick thin. Their heads protruded from their meager shoulders and I could see their ribs through the holes in their clothes.
They were the only surviving members of an extended family. The five of them had been living under a tree until someone offered them shelter in this house. After about an hour of conversation through a translator, the young woman left the room and returned with a plate of boiled manioc, a potato-like tuber. From what the guide had told us, it was evident that this plate represented about one week of food for them. She was offering all they had. To make my heart rip open even more, she put the dish down on the floor and asked if she could say a blessing and offer thanksgiving. I was never so glad to be in the back of the group. Being next to the door, I slipped outside and began to cry.
Compared to this family, and what so many around the world deal with daily, my challenge with writer’s block tonight was a mere discomfort. My life is not at stake if I don’t blog. I will not go hungry. This young woman found it in her heart to give everything she had. Tonight this story is all I have.
Whatever you’re struggling with, let this story be a reminder to put things into perspective. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Know that you have another day to accomplish whatever task you need to do. Your life does not depend on it. But whatever your job is, remember to do it from the heart. Maybe that’s the point of tonight’s message.
Digital Marketing Consultant
Author, Agapanthus Rising
“My mission is to help expansion-minded entrepreneurs create and build their dream career with an online digital marketing laptop business.”