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Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Elevate, Empower, Inspiration, Soul Food | 0 comments

Silver Linings & the Faith to Find Them

Silver Linings & the Faith to Find Them

There is a lot happening in the world right now. If you’re paying attention you’re likely equally inspired and horrified. That is how I feel lately. This week I have watched as friends and colleagues have lost homes, and/or are desperately working to save their homes, businesses, animals, belongings. Some are missing friends and/or family. One friend is praying her oldest son is camped out in the high country, because no one can find him in the flooded foothills of Colorado. Thousands of people being rescued, and it’s still raining. If you’ve never been to Colorado, you don’t know how weird this rain is. It is off the charts crazy. This is a state that spends months on fire every summer because of the dry conditions. Fire. The thing that brought down half a boardwalk on the Jersey Shore this week, where they are just now tipping the scale on the recovery efforts from last year’s devastating Hurricane Sandy. I heard someone at the grocery yesterday say “well it was just a boardwalk!”. Yes. To a lot of people, just a boardwalk. But to the people of that region, a sign of hope and recovery. To the people who worked there, a return to the livelihood that feeds their families. There is no such thing as “just a boardwalk”.

I won’t soapbox much about the global craziness happening. I will only say that there are much, much bigger issues that we should all be paying attention to. From where are precious foods are being exported to {and why}, to the horrible conditions that millions of people live in because they do not have basic human needs met {fresh water, food, medicine, shelter}. Here at home, we are in a firestorm of nasty political jockeying, the results of which most families feel on a daily basis. And it is about to get worse.

Thankfully the media allows a small margin of positive in their daily offerings, and we also hear stories of remarkable resilience, strength and fearless leadership. I was watching the coverage of the Miss America prelims last night and was inspired by the determination of Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones and Miss Kansas, Sgt. Theresa Vail. There was a story this week from the midwest about a little girl who fell into an abandoned well near a football field, and the head coach went in after her immediately, saving her life while risking his. Fearless. The stories of people creating new technology that create real benefit to the environment, people who have little giving to others, young men and women rallying their friends to teach other children in far off countries, strangers reaching out to hungry kids in their communities to make sure they have three meals a day… it’s all inspiring and beautiful. The silver linings.

If you spend more than 5 minutes on Facebook or Twitter you hear {and maybe are guilty of} people complaining about the most irrelevant things. Don’t get me wrong, we all have those moments of frustration, but I feel like the people who have a keen sense of the bigger picture only allow those moments to be, well, moments! While so many others dwell on things that just don’t matter. I know it is a bit idealistic to hope that everyone can be big picture thinkers, or care more about the greater good, but that is what I would like to see. More people who care about others than they do the temperature of their pumpkin spice latte. More people who care about solutions than they do about who they feel created a problem. A greater share of the populous taking responsibility for their choices and blaming others less. Make sure your moment of self-pity is only a moment, not your mantra.

I look at my grandparents, who have seen almost a century of history written, and they are big picture thinkers. They did not get to be that way after nearly a century of watching history unfold, but played an active role in each chapter written. They are, and always have been, doers. They have fought their own battles, suffered their own tragedies, enjoyed successes, and for as long as I can remember have always seen the silver lining. Unselfish, aware, community focused, hard working, dedicated people. When did we stop looking for opportunity to help others? Are we, as a society, so mired in the political climate of our country that we just don’t care at all? Or are we just spoiled and entitled? Why don’t more people step up when faced with the option? Whether it’s the local school district that’s graduating illiterate 18 year olds, or cancer patients who need rides to and from treatments, there are opportunities all around us, every day, to be a part of a {someone’s} solution.

I honestly feel it stems from a position of gratitude vs. entitlement. Those who understand how blessed {fortunate} they are {even in times of great trial} are the ones who are usually the first in line to help, or lead a charge. It is those who feel like they deserve more who fail to see the bigger picture. Those who are always complaining about what they do not have, weren’t given, etc. who are perpetuating problems rather than creating solutions. It is a choice. You cannot be in a place of faith & gratitude while you are complaining about your life and waiting for others to give you what you have not earned. It is not possible. And let me be clear, if you are sitting in a safe home, with all those you love accounted for, have food & water… you are blessed. Period.

It is a good time to take stock of what really matters. Rather than the list of things you think you are missing, make one of all the blessings you have & how you can share them. Find your silver linings. Better yet, be one.