Children Of the Dump

Today I got an email through Facebook from an old friend that I grew up with in Hong Kong. He’s someone that I have often thought of but I haven’t seen or spoken to in nearly twenty years. I knew he’d be involved in helping others; something we both learned by watching our parents work as missionaries in Hong Kong.

He turned me on to a project of his; personally and professionally. 

After watching the clip he sent, I am again reminded how easy my life is.  How do I sit around in my comfy chair, making money and eating fat food while beautiful people live in a place constructed out of the things others threw away?

This isn’t a new thought for me, nor is it foreign for me to help others.  But, it is so easy to get sucked in to the materialistic American dream and wish for the stars that will benefit me the most.  I showed the clip to Andy and he too was moved. I forgot to mention to him that watching this made me want to sell my huge house and move somewhere cheap so all my money, energy and resources could be put into making the lives of children in this world a little more tolerable.

Not far away from the homes of the children living in this dump are resorts, gourmet restaurants, beaches and relaxation. Do any of these children know that life?  How dare we sit around and whine that we don’t have enough?

I want to thank Derek Williams for sharing this with me. I hope he don’t mind that I share it with you.

Check out this clip:

www.operationquad.org

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Growing Old Gracefully….

or fighting it every step of the way. I don’t know which is worse.  There is something to be said for surrounding yourself with friends while you are young so that you are not completely alone and lost when the time comes for you to need help.

Andy’s mom stopped driving about a month ago. Not because she wanted to, but because we asked her to. Or rather, her three children sat her down and said they didn’t think she was safe. She promised not to drive until she was evaluated. In her mind, she was going to prove to us that we are all nuts and she is perfectly fine! Never mind that her husband is scared when she’s driving or that multiple scrapes and scratches on the car predict otherwise.

She took an off-road evaluation first.  Testing of her memory, reaction time and other motor skills. According to her, she did fine “except that I was kind of slow getting my foot from the accelerator to the brake.”  And “it’s a good thing she asked me those questions to test my memory as quickly as she did, or I wouldn’t have remembered.” A rational person would find that a little scary. She thought it quite normal.

Five days ago she took an on-road evaluation with a driving instructor who does these evaluations full time. The guy has extremely gray hair; I guess I would too if I had his job. Super patient man! Mom thought she had passed this one too. “I only went in the wrong lane in the parking lot, so I think I did fine.”  The instructor warned me at the end of the test that he wasn’t going to pass her. I didn’t tell her that. Her doctor gets to do that one! Which he did yesterday.

It’s like watching a little kid slowly have all his toys taken from him. It’s pitiful and sad and what makes it worse is that they both fight each of these stages as though they can hold back time and all the lousiness of getting old will go away. If they don’t deal with it, it simply won’t cause a problem! And they are alone. They have not developed a group of friends to rely on in their life, so now they are extremely lost. There is no one to ask for help; their church least of all. Sunday mornings they have a ride to services, but that’s about it.  The real stinker is that even if they had someone to lean on, they wouldn’t. They just refuse to let on that there is a problem. They’ll get good at riding the public bus paid for by lottery tickets, I guess.

I just hope that when I’m there, I’ll be gracious enough to let others help me. I won’t run from reality or stop others from caring. I won’t be so proud and pigheaded or passive aggressive. I won’t live in denial or pretend there’s no pain. I’ll lean on my God instead of myself and I’ll manage somehow to grow through that stage with grace.

And when they come for my keys, they can have them. I’ll just buy me a pink stretch limo with a wine bar and leather and a really cute chauffer to drive me around! Life’s too much fun to stand by and watch.