Friday, September 19, 2014

When Gratitude and Discontent Collide

As of this month I am the mother of two college students.  Both of my girls are attending college locally, so I get to see them each day as they head off to class or to work. (Both also have jobs as of today.)

This season is a bit overwhelming for them because in addition to juggling work and school, they are very aware that choices that they make now will determine the direction of their futures.  Each of my girls has been gifted with a sharp mind, good work habits and enough talent that the possibilities before them seem almost TOO many.  How does a girl decide?  Even my oldest, who knows with certainty that her chosen profession must involve cows, still has a surprising number of career options available to her.  You would think the whole cow requirement would drastically narrow your choices, but this is truly the land of opportunity!

I sympathize with their struggle, I really do.  I am also acutely mindful that such a smorgasbord of possibilities is a gift that is incomprehensible in many parts of the world.  As my daughters wrestle through the options before them, I can't help but think of a passage from the book Forgotten Girls by Kay Marshall Strom and Michelle Rickett.  One of the authors asked a young girl, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"   Initially the girl just answered with a stare.  When she finally answered, her response was a whispered, "I can't be anything."

Ugh.  Each time I picture the scene, I feel I've been kicked in the guts.

While I am grateful for the safe, comfortable life my daughters have enjoyed, I cannot be content with it after reading that story--because that could just as easily be my daughters.  There is NOTHING my family has done to deserve what we have more than that little girl.  I have no answer to why my girls live safe and valued in a culture of abundance while so many girls grow up in cultures that tell them they are worthless and expendable. 

I don't know yet what I am supposed to do with this concoction of overwhelming gratitude and unrelenting discontent that churns in me.    

I do know what I won't do.

I am not going to waste my passion demanding answers from a God who I know from experience is good even when circumstances are horrible.

I am not going to bury my head in the luxurious sand of my comfy North American life, praising God for my blessings while ignoring the ugliness elsewhere.  

I am not going to do nothing.

For now my "something" is to stand with those who are fighting the darkness with the light and hope of the Gospel.  I am standing with She is Safe and their partners in the darkest places through the Run to Rescue Virtual Run.   Will you join me?

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