Posted by: janpierce | August 10, 2011

Dreams and Surprises

    Today is my daughter and son-in-law’s fifteenth wedding anniversary. That seems impossible. It’s also my daughter, Sara’s, thirty-eighth birthday. Time flies by and it seems that their gorgeous beach wedding was just yesterday. Now the two have become five and are part of the greatest joys in life—my family. Thinking back fifteen years to Jon and Sara’s wedding day makes me realize how much my own life has changed in that time period.

Fifteen years ago I’d never been to India–hadn’t seen anything but pictures of that place, and never dreamed I’d spend time there. Now India is foremost in my mind day after day. Now I know how the cities and villages look. I’ve seen the startling beauty of the countryside paired with the desolation of abject poverty and need. I’ve learned lesson after lesson about the challenges of understanding a culture not lived in, but only visited. Each visit helps make the experiences more real and true. Still, wisdom tells me there is a lifetime of learning to do.

Now I know that appearances are deceiving and that a family living in one dark and shabby room can be living a middle class life in India. I know that what looks like poverty to me, isn’t always so. I know that many of the comforts I take for granted really aren’t very important. I know that when people live in slums they aren’t always bothered by it and actually take pride in their little homes. I know that I don’t need to “fix” as many things as I first thought. I’ve learned to appreciate a hot cup of tea with friends in a setting I once would have thought primitive. And there’s a lot more…..

Fifteen years ago I hadn’t dreamed I’d be a writer. I’d never submitted a piece for publication, hadn’t written a devotional or an article and had never received one of those lovely form rejection letters. I didn’t spend time writing down my thoughts and questions or researching information for stories. I hadn’t interviewed people for profiles and didn’t know what a clip was. And OMGoodness, I’d never had my own business cards printed! Yes, my life has taken some unexpected turns and given me some big and wonderful surprises.

What about you? Have you dreamed of adventures that have so far not come to pass? Do you think there could be surprises in store for you? Is there a place in this big world you’d like to see or a work nearby that is just waiting for your hands and heart? One Handful of Rice is all about living a life of generosity. It’s made my life rich and full to serve the people of India, but I might have served just as well in downtown Vancouver. I love my mini writing career and am just as surprised as anyone that I have it. What do you want to experience? What will you give? What can you share with others? There just may be some surprises in store for you.

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