Thursday, September 11, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

Well, it's my birthday today, everyone. And like most folks in their 30s, I am of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I feel OLD. On the other, there's NO WAY it's all gone so fast. I'm thrilled with my happy, happy life, but I am horrified at so much in the world around me. Mixed emotions.

I have never, ever at any period (including the Nirvana that is the College Years), been so happy and thankful and overjoyed at the life I have been given than I am right now. I have SO MUCH each and every day for which to be deeply, deeply grateful: an amazing husband who adores me and is kind and thoughtful and inappropriate and brilliant and tender and silly and complex and brings me the purest delight; awesome children who are healthy and smart and funny and sweet and polite and generous and who think I'm a great mom; a beautiful home of which I am so proud, where all of us are safe and warm and together; work that I love and that makes me feel fulfilled and creative and challenged and appreciated; my health, which is no small gift; enough means to meet my needs at all times; friends who surround me with support and love and kind words; a great dog. SO MUCH to be thankful for, so much that no human could ever, ever deserve. It's a good birthday.

Simultaneously, there are so many sadnesses in the world around me, so many things that I wish I had the power or the energy or the compassion or the time or the something to fix. I feel overwhelmed and helpless and angry and frustrated and elated and inspired all in turn. I want to help in so many ways, and I want so many people to help themselves, and I know so well that all that I have is a gift and that I have done nothing to earn it, but that I have worked and worked to make myself worthy, and so I am constantly conflicted when I see all the hurt and the poverty and the abuses of this world, and those who fight them side-by-side with those who lie down as victims. It's confusing and heartwrenching and it makes me feel lost while giving me an enormous desire to be part of an effort to change things.

One of my all-time favorite charities has always been Heifer International. I love that they reach out to those in need, and offer them just the tiniest push to get them going, just enough to build momentum, and that they then ask them to maintain that momentum through their own labor and dedication. Heifer seeks not to drop-ship supplies and then fly away, but to give hope and renewal by offering people the tools they need to begin again, themselves.

Another great work to which I've been exposed is Charity:Water, a new charity set up last year to fund new wells world-wide for villages in need. A guy my age has dedicated himself not to solving people's problems for them or by handing them a temporary solution, but by seeking to alleviate the underlying problems in their environment that lead to their inability to move forward--in this case, a lack of potable, healthful water in villages across Ethiopia that causes whole families to sacrifice hours a day seeking out the most basic of necessities and prevents them from work or schooling or farming or any of the other things each of us must pursue to make our daily lives improve.

I've set up a button in the sidebar there, over to the right. I've decided to ask for donations to a charity in lieu of birthday gifts this year as part of the September Campaign. I know the Nie Nie auction was just a couple weeks ago, and I am so thankful to those of you who donated to such a deserving family. I hate to even post a request for MORE after the generosity of the internet these past few days. But if you feel so moved, please click the button and consider giving the smallest gift to help provide basic needs for children and families you will never, ever meet. It makes me thankful to know that with all that I have, I can help even a little as others seek to help themselves live better, healthier, longer lives.

And thanks, y'all. Today's a good day--all over the world.

Photo: Me and my mom, in Europe somewhere, 1975. Could just as easily be me and one of my girls, since my mother and I have always looked so much alike! FYI, I'm not quite this chubby anymore...


Blakely said...

Happy Birthday!

Kari said...

What lovely sentiments on your birhtday. Have a good one!

t.spoon said...

hey lady, happy birthday! you have the same birthday as one of my models, Marquez. and thanks for posting my blog in your side bar, i'm happy to return the favor. :)

JuliaR said...

Nice sentiments on your birthday. I hope it was a good one!