"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Come and visit and see our lives from close range..."

"What’s so hard about waiting? For me, it’s finding purpose and contentment where I am at every moment, even when I have a better time and place in mind." 
A friend shared this on Facebook and she got it from the blog of a father who has been telling about his little son's heart problem.  I could relate to the quote as I've struggled with the same feelings of finding purpose and contentment. Of seemingly sitting here desiring something more to do when my mind dreams of bigger things.  Last year was especially rough after I came home from Syria.
Then I read books such as the one I'm currently reading on women's resistance movements in Afghanistan and I see how most of these women have lost numerous family members, have often only known war, have been terrorized by both foreigners and their own people, have been told they are inferior to men and thus deprived schooling (as of this book's writing only 7% of Afghani women were literate).
And I remember how blessed I am. 
Just this morning I read an account of a lady who attended a literacy class and how excited she was to see a map of the world. Many had no idea about the history of their own country and had never seen how their land fit into the world.  I read of one woman's humiliation -- in order to know what something said, she had to ask a literate family member or friend.  Many of them want to read and learn and improve themselves despite being told good women stay home and work and have no need of schooling.  It is exciting to them when they realize there is more than one opinion, they can read the lot of them and even formulate their own!
I'm reading Veiled Courage: Inside the Afghan Women's Resistance by Cheryl Benard.  It's about ten years old so I'm left wondering now if and how things have changed.  A couple parts have made my eyes teary and one part made me wince:
From Shakria:
Our American sisters, my request is that some of you come and visit and see our lives from close range. In these days after the bombing from America, lots of people have become refugees in Quetta. I feel sorry for them. I can't do anything for them. They are in a camp in the desert and nobody is helping them.  Nobody really likes us or worries about us; everyone just throws their rocks at us.  We haven't yet forgotten the Russian bombardment, and the bombardment by the fundamentalists and the bombardment by the Talibs, and now it's America's turn.  (pg.147)

Soon after Samer and I became close friends, he requested that Andrew and I travel to his city.  He wanted to show us that his people were not evil such as Bush's placement of Syria in the Axis of Evil might imply.  He wanted me to meet normal Muslims and Arabs who are just going about their daily lives. And we went.  And loved the precious people we met.

So when I saw Shakria's request, it touched my heart.  She, too, wants people to know the life of the ordinary Afghanis who are struggling in this world.

And I have the gall to complain about being chilly as I sit in my heated house?  Reading such things really puts life issues into better perspective for me.
I am spoiled.


Amber said...

I think things like this - reading about the lives of people in places that aren't as 'advanced' as the US or Britain, etc. are good for us. They help us keep our perspective on how lucky we really are. Doesn't stop us from whining. I've got so much stuff - more things than I need and I know it. But I still whine because I can't do this thing or have that shiny new toy right *now*! *stomps foot like a two year old throwing a tantrum* Even in our own countries there are people who live in poverty - who have nothing. And a lot of us, because we don't see them, never even think about them.

Donna, a friend of mine, has this idea that every child should have to go to other countries in some sort of an exchange program. It would teach the children about other cultures and make them deal with people who are different from them in the real world - show them that they're people too. A little different, but not all that weird. :)

Susanne said...

Amber, I love Donna's idea! :) And, yes, I keep whining at times, but for sure reading books like this make me realize my life is GOOD compared to many in the world!

Thanks for your comment!