Posts tagged Christianity
Pride and Poverty

An urban slum in Hanoi, Viet Nam. According to the World Bank, over 13 percent of Viet Nam’s population, and a quarter of the world population – nearly 2 billion people – live on $1.25 or less a day.  Photo Credit:  Kibae Park/UN Photo I've been awed lately by how richly blessed our family is. We always have food, clothing, a roof over our head, water, electricity and--praise God because we live in Louisiana--air conditioning. We are financially independent and consistently have money left over to save, to go on dates, to have family days. We've had access to tools that have taught us how to budget, and as long as we stick to that, we have very few financial worries. We are richly blessed, indeed.

It can be easy to forget sometimes that not everyone has been granted the same opportunities that we have. At just a stone's throw above the US poverty line, our household is actually richer than 99% of the world's population. While we have running water and air conditioning in our home, there are people walking miles through the heat every day for just the hope of clean water to drink. While we have money left over to save or to have fun with, there are people who don't know how they're going to feed their families for the week. And while we've learned how to budget every paycheck so we have exactly the right amount going to the right place, there are families living off a daily amount less than the forgotten change in the bottom of my purse. And usually, I'm not even aware of the disparity.

Even more than awed by how fortunate we are, I'm humbled. My perspective is awful sometimes. Pride and selfishness go hand in hand, each concerned with the self above all. At times, I have definitely been concerned with myself above anything else. That goes for finances too. Money often seems like too much when we're giving it and not enough when we're receiving it, as though somehow the context of a dollar can change its value. But it's always a gift. It's a gift to receive, and it's a gift to have the ability to help others, even if that means parting with what you have.

Every so often I have revelations like this. But they fade. I get comfortable again and forget about these things until something else brings them up again (thanks, humanity). I forget to be grateful; forget to be humble; forget to think about the needs of others. This time, I don't want to forget. I hope that no matter what happens with our finances, I could remain cognizant of the situation of those less fortunate, be grateful for the abundance we have, and out of that gratefulness, give. And I know that as I'm sanctified, I will become more like Christ: less prideful, more humble; less selfish, more giving; more and more loving of those around me. He is the source of everything good in me. May he increase as I decrease, until only Christ remains.

The Emotions in Writing (Quote of the Day)

It's interesting to me to think that we may each have one facet of our emotions that "informs our writing," as Ben Elton seems to imply. For him, it's love. Love is the strongest thing he's ever felt, and that gives a unique character to his writing. But what about the rest of us? What emotions might leave their stamp like fingerprints on other authors' writings?

For me, personally, the strongest emotion I have ever felt is sadness. It's not that I've felt sadness more often than any other emotion; it's simply that I've felt it… more. Truthfully, my life has been extremely happy. There's been an abundance of joy, love, and gratitude. But I've felt grief more deeply than joy. Tears have left a longer-lasting impression than laughter. Sadness tends to wrap a fist around me, while joy feels more like a gentle hand on my shoulder—no matter how great that joy may be.

To give an example: as a Christian, I can say that I'm more emotionally impacted by the crucifixion than the Ressurection. One of my favorite bible verses is the simple, two-word phrase, "Jesus wept." The idea of God coming to earth and dying strikes me more than the idea that I will go to heaven and live eternally.

That all may sound depressing and macabre, but the thing is, it isn't. I don't wallow. I don't enjoy being sad and I'm not fascinated by inherently sad things. Despair isn't in my nature; in fact, I'm probably the most dogged optimist you'll ever meet. Grief has so much beauty to me because it's so closely intertwined with hope. Incredible things can grow out of horrible circumstances, which makes them even more incredible. That is what leaves a lasting impression on me; that is what informs my writing. It's undeniable: grief and hope together make my stories what they are; when you read them, that's ultimately what you see. And that's okay in my book.

Today's Prompt: What emotion do you feel the most strongly? Identify it and then write a story in which that one emotion is completely absent.

Happy Writing!