Monday, January 31, 2011

It's not fair...

If you read the paper and listen to the news, one would think there isn't a decent soul on the face of the earth.  We don't read too many stories about people being loving, kind or even helping a brother out.  Or so it seems.

I think people are inherently kind, giving and want to love.  I really do.  I think we struggle so hard to make it in the world and watch folks get ahead that we may think don't deserve to, and get mad.  And get even...we think, it's just not fair

I tell my kids, "life isn't fair" alot.  Because it isn't.  It isn't fair at all really.  Think about all those folks when you were a kid that had the perfect families.  The perfect parents and yours were just a joke.  They had all the latest things, they were funny, nice and looked better than your family.  We had those folks on Round Hill Drive.  I always wished I was invited to their house for dinner because even their mother made better food than mine.  And it wasn't fair!!!

I have gotten past all of that...or so I think, but it makes me wonder about the folks born in other places in the world.  Like the folks in Haiti, Africa, Mexico and even Nicaragua...talk about not fair.  I can speak for the poverty in Nicaragua...I have seen it and when I am there, I feel like it's not fair that I have so much. It's not fair to them.

In Nicaragua, the poorer families generally live in small houses, put together with garbage bags and card board.  Thank God it is fairly warm there but let me tell you...it rains alot and it rains hard.  One of my favorite families would huddle up in the corner of the "so called" room and get into the garbage bag to try to stay dry.  Yep...and I say "it's not fair?"


They  move up from garbage bags and cardboard to houses like this.  There is no running water and no toilet.  The water and sanitation in these parts of the world are horrifying.  There is no garbage man that comes to pick up garbage or a place to keep things cold.  Barely any electricity and when there is...you never know when it is going to be shut off.

In the small town we go to, the kids can go to school but they need to have a uniform or its a no go.  The uniform is similar to the one I wore in catholic school in the warmer time of spring..white polo shirt and navy blue skirt for the girls and navy blue pants for the boys.  They have to have shoes on too.  Uniforms cost, on the average about 20.00 to assemble and then there are the shoes.  Most families make 25.00 a month and that covers all the eating and living expenses.  Doesn't leave alot for school uniforms or anything else for that matter.

On our trip 2 years ago, my youngest had befriended a little girl named Amelia.  It was odd to us because he was really in a "not liking girls phase".  But she was different, she was little, tough, fun and she could keep up with him.  They played soccer and wrestled and spent all the time they had together when she wasn't in school.  We joked about him finding his "soul mate" because he would give her the time of day.

On our last day of our trip, my youngest decided he needed to go to the general store in the town.  "Dad, we gotta go to the Pali, what time does it close?"  My husband was in no mood to shop and what did this kid, our kid who had everything, think he needed now?  (Being in that kind of poverty and heat tends to make one a little crabby at the end of the day)  My youngest kept bugging him...Dad, Dad...come on, walk me to the store!  Finally, my husband gave in and walked him to the store.  They walked in and my youngest went over to the shoes, held them up to my husband and said, "Do you think these will fit Amelia?  She doesn't have shoes for school and she won't be able to go"...my husband was stunned...this wasn't about my youngest at all...it was about giving to someone else.  They bought the shoes and walked them to her house.  She was out playing but her mother was very thankful and we were just so glad we could do something.

I don't claim to have any answers when it comes to humankind and poverty and dissagreement...well, maybe after a few drinks...but really, I always want to err on the side of kindness and love...always...because when I need you, I hope you can get past all of our differences and show me kindness and love.
The way I look at this life is...eventually everyone is humbled by something, or so it seems...illness, divorce, death, no money, no looks, too many looks, children, no children...your own thoughts in your head...whatever. 

I go to Nicaragua every year not to change the world...in fact, I don't change a thing.  I get so much more than I give and I watch the way my kid's hearts and eyes open up...even if it is for a short time to other ways of life.  I watch as my husband tries to speak spanish and dissolve into laughter with the guys on the job site because they know what they really are doing...and it's not so much just building a house.  I hug and cry when I see my favorite grandma...and how the house she recieved did, in fact, change her life.


I think we all do what we can do...sometimes it's a trip to Nicaragua, sometimes it's driving a dear friend to her chemo treatment.  Sometimes, it's just listening to someone and you just would rather not but sense that you should...sometimes, it's not saying or doing a thing.  We do what we can and when we feel like "It's not fair"  I would venture to say...it's not.

We'll tawk later,
I love you all,


Ms. Moon said...

Terry- this was so perfect for me to read today. I won't go into it here but I will just say- thank-you. And I will also say that it is not fair that everyone doesn't know you and your heart.
Not fair at all.

Elizabeth said...

This was an affirmation for me as well. I'm so impressed that you've taken your family to Nicaragua and wonder how and why. I am looking to do something with my boys that helps them to help, to see the world, to learn gratitude and open their eyes.

Terry Joy said...

Ms. Moon-thanks!

Elizabeth-I fell into going to Nicaragua by chance. Since I am a nurse, I have been thinking of ways to travel and serve. This opportunity came up and I decided to invite my whole family. I was terrified but it was the best thing I have done. Email me and we can tawk if you want ideas...

Sandy said...

Beautiful, because it's true. We do what we can, but you do more than most. Bless you, sister.