One morning I wake up as a child in Guatemala. The next morning I wake up in my “normal” world.
I am lying here awake but I have not opened my eyes yet. I can tell it is daylight because I hear birds chirping and the sounds of people talking outside. I hear a baby crying. I hear a dog barking. I smell burning wood from a fire. My body feels warm and a little sweaty. My feet feel dirty from walking on the dirt floor. I only wear shoes to school and on special occasions. My mouth is dry and I feel like I haven’t had a drink of water for days. My stomach hurts and I feel bloated yet I am hungry.
Part of me wants to hide under this scratchy blanket all day. Part of me wants to go outside and play with the dog. Part of me wants to just sleep and continue dreaming of a life where my parents and I won’t have to work so hard. But hard work and survival go hand in hand in this place. I want to help my parents and my siblings as much as I can. Our house needs repairs because the winds blew down a wall. I might not get to go to school today if my parents need me to help them with their work. If I don’t go, my mom will practice my lesson with me under the hot sun. I also teach her things I have learned in school. She wants to learn English too.
I hope I get to go to school though. It is my escape and the place that gives me hope for my future. I want to learn so my younger sister and brother can learn from me. I want to help my family live a good life where we don’t have to worry about food or shelter. I also want to keep learning about Jesus and what the Bible says he did for me. I don’t have much but I am not afraid. I know I will be okay even if I don’t eat today. God always provides for me and my family. I thank him daily.
Today I wake up underneath my big puffy down comforter to the sound of a fan blowing. I haven’t opened my eyes yet but I can tell it is morning. I hear cars outside. I hear a noisy snowplow in the parking lot next door. I smell coffee brewing downstairs. I am warm and cozy lying in my bed and my hair still smells like the expensive shampoo I used last night in my hot shower.
Part of me wants to sleep under these warm blankets all day and skip work. I have four weeks paid vacation and three personal days. Or I could call in sick and still get paid for it and not use any of my personal time. I could watch Netflix all day or I could meet a friend for lunch and a movie. I could go to the gym or I could go to the mall and buy those shoes I saw last week. I have a closet full of shoes but I don’t like any of them. I really need to start working on updating my wardrobe again. I also need to buy a couple of bathing suits for the cruise I have booked this spring. Maybe I’ll get my nails done or go to the tanning bed.
But all of that sounds boring. Why is my life so difficult? Why do I have to go to work every day? Why can’t I just be lazy and eat and drink and play on my phone? Why is my life so hard?
The biggest surprise I found imagining myself in these two different worlds was that when I had less, I was more grateful for everything. When I had more, I couldn’t live without my comforts. I always wanted more and I was never content with what I had. When I had less, the only thing I couldn’t live without was God.
The most important lesson I learned is that God loves me just the same if I have nothing or if I have everything. And in either situation I should express gratitude. For when I am grateful, I experience joy and I am aware that I am abundantly blessed.
Stacey ~ iamalive
Find out more about sponsoring a child through Compassion International:
When you sponsor a child, you’ll be personally connected with a boy or girl who will know your name and treasure the thought that you care. Your support of $38 per month provides life-changing opportunities such as:
- an opportunity to attend or stay in school
- medical care, which often saves lives
- nourishing food
- mentoring and a safe environment through a local evangelical church
- and most important, opportunities to hear the gospel.
Compassion child sponsorship works! Millions of children have “graduated” from our program and are now responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Allow God to work through you in the life of a child in poverty. Click here to sponsor a child today!
Photo credit: Guatemala Housing Alliance