Monday, January 16, 2012

A Lesson On Thankfulness

I remember the cut of the cold wind. The ground was muddy, and with the sun behind clouds, the day was dreary and bone-chilling. I was in Bolivia, visiting a small community and a school where they worked with the poorest of the poor. The school director was taking us for a walk around the neighborhood to see some of the good work they had done to help families live a better life. We viewed pigs and goats that allowed single mothers to have a chance to earn money so they could care for their families. We saw where they were learning to garden more productively and heard how many of the parents in the neighborhood had learned to read along with their children. Then one of the mothers invited us to her house. She was excited about the good things that was happening in her life because of the ministry the school was doing. She wanted to share a little of her gratitude with us.

We stepped away from the roads, deeply rutted and difficult to navigate because of the deep mud and entered a little area where I saw this:

I remember thinking we were first going to see perhaps where her animals lived.

But no. This was her house. Where she lived with her children. When we entered, the children were in the bed and the interpreter told us they were there because it was the warmest place to be on a cold day like that.

As you can see, her home was tarp and tin held together with a few rusty nails and rope. There were plenty of cracks to allow the cold wind to blow through. Chickens wandered in and out. These pictures show everything she owned. Yet the most striking thing about this encounter was not the hovel they called home, or the fact that she had so little. It was her gratefulness. She was overflowing about how grateful she was for God being with her and giving her so much. She talked about how good God was, and about how thankful she was for a home and children, and for the ministry she could be a part of at the school. She was so overwhelmingly grateful. That stuck in my memory more than anything else. I would have been devastated to learn I had to live in these conditions. Yet she was so joyful and full of gratitude. At the time I had just moved into a much smaller house and was concerned about closet space. She was grateful for dirt floors.
A lesson on thankfulness. She took it to a whole new level for me. It was truly humbling to see her heart of thankfulness for what she had, and to learn the lesson before me of gratitude and being content. A lesson I still remember and will never forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment