Saturday, August 31, 2013

Equilateral, Isosceles or Scalene?

A very wise friend told me something recently that ended up encouraging me during my visit back home to the USA and my subsequent arrival back to South America. He said, "Let's pretend that the United States is a square culture.  You were born, raised, and drenched in being that square.  Now, you decide to dedicate your life and passion to the Latino culture; we'll say they are the circle culture.  You have been in-between these two cultures for the past 10 years -- whether in your studies, friendships or travelings. Finally, after all these years, you feel like you are not completely a square anymore and yet you will never completely be a circle either.  Therefore, because of the progression of events, you all of a sudden are this unique triangle, trying to constantly figure out your place between the two cultures."  And you know, the most encouraging part of this real-life analogy is that I've come to accept that it's okay to be that triangle. Actually, it's quite a beautiful thing, although rather challenging and confusing at times.  I am a triangle. I accept my triangle-ness.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Great Reminder

“The truly patient man neither complains of his hard lot nor desires to be pitied by others. He speaks of his sufferings in a natural, true, and sincere way, without murmuring, complaining, or exaggerating them.” 

In my 10-hour layover in Miami, I finished reading a book about the 18-year kidnapping & imprisonment of Jaycee Dugard, who only was 11 at the time in which it happened (“A Stolen Life”).  It expounded upon her continual sex slave status, her two pregnancies during being a captive, and the overall mental manipulation endured.  After finishing this heart wrenching book and bawling my eyes out in the airport cafe, I am convinced of three things:

(1)   There are some SICK people in this world.  No apparent logic.  No conscience.  No heart.  Of course, I knew this, but this book only illustrates this point further. 
(2)  I am amazed at how much the human spirit can survive such inhumaneness.  You should read this woman’s story, if only on Wikipedia.  She has moved ahead, written this successful memoir, and is trying to regain strength to enjoy life in a whole new way. 
(3)  I am ashamed about how much we complain about not-life-or-death matters.  “OMG, my cell phone isn’t working” (at least you have a cell phone) or “My teenagers are so misbehaved all the time” (at least you were able to conceive in the first place, at least they are still safe in your arms) or “This food is disgusting, makes me want to gag” (you probably have three meals a day, no?) or “I can’t believe I have so many essays to complete.  No social life possible.” (SO guilty here. But at least I had a chance to pursue an education – I had the financial support, the time, and the opportunity.)  Humans as a whole need to learn to be content right where we are, with exactly what we have.  We must live life without grumbling or complaining, especially when so many others in the world live with much less and in much worse, unimaginable circumstances.  Before negativity and pessimism overtake my words, I really need to weigh my problem.  Life or death?  Just breathe, Kerrie Isabel, no words necessary. Just oxygen.

Great reminder to me, my life & my current obstacles.
May I have a heart of compassion.  May I see the needs of others.
May I not complain about the minor problems that invade on a daily basis.
May I continually cultivate an attitude of gratitude.