I feel like our country currently wants to fight more than solve issues or problems. The supreme court decision last week made individuals either very excited and made others think the world was coming to an end. Social media blew up and almost every post I saw about this issue (from both sides) had terrible comments from someone with a different opinion. It was ugly. We can't even seem to disagree as a country anymore and show respect to other's who have opinions different than our's.
Let me remind us of what we do have in this great country:
1. Freedom of speech - In Zambia there isn't freedom of speech. We have watched the lack of free speech over the past few years as presidents have changed in Zambia. People who speak out for change or in an effort to hold the Zambian government accountable get jailed, deported, or worse. Newspapers are run by the government. Can you imagine if we didn't get to publicaly speak out about our concerns?
2. Electricity - Right now the Zambian government is struggling to provide power to their country. The one and only power plant, which is run by the government, is hydro electric and there have been droughts that has effected the output capacity. Most areas of Zambia have forced brown outs where power is cut off for 8 - 12 hours a day. Our staff doesn't have power at home most of the time. They spend 3 - 5 hours an evening trying to get home on busses because no power means no traffic lights.
3. Opportunity - You can most likely get a job in America if you want one. It might not be exactly what you want but you can find something that will pay you. I am reminded of a woman I met in a stone quarry years ago. She is a widow, her husband died a while back. She spends ALL day breaking rocks that then can be used in mixing cement. Her kids also work and help her. She is just as committed to her children's future as we are in America. Can you imagine going to a rock quarry everyday and splitting rocks in the sun to only make $5 a day? Be thankful for America.
4. Health care - OK I don't want to argue about Obamacare and if everyone has health care. But right now if you were in a car accident and taken to a hospital you would be treated. There would be qualified doctors to treat you. The lights would be on. There would be machines and medicine and blood and IV bags for you if that was what was needed. You might have flown by helicopter to get you there faster. Or the ambulance would have had gas in it to drive you. Some friends of our's have a non-profit that provides ambulances to remote villages in Zambia, you want to see what that looks like:
You have access to some of the best health care (if not the best) in the world. I have been reminded of this as a friend of mine is battling cancer. She is having a "minor" brain surgery next week to remove a lesion on her brain. The surgery takes 8 minutes and lasers go through her temple. The doctors told her the entire procedure will take an hour and she will be home by the afternoon and will be ready for dinner in the evening. I thanked the Lord at that moment she is in America and has access to this. Given her aggressive cancer, if she were living in Zambia she would not be on this earth but in Heaven.
In early June we had some of our Zambian staff with us in America. I can't even begin to tell you how many times our guy's jaws dropped at all the things we have and have access to. They LOVED that the electricity never went out in my home. Hot water in the showers was a treat. They thought wireless internet was awesome and that it was so fast you could stream videos. They were introduced to Starbucks and thought a coffee shop open that early in the morning with good coffee and even food was awesome. They couldn't get over ALL the food choices we had. They never had been introduced to seafood or mac and cheese! They were shocked that you couldn't bribe the police and that they were honest. (I don't want emails from some of you telling me the police aren't honest) They thought a store like Wal-Mart where you could get almost anything was so cool. They loved that there were biking and walking trails by my house that I could get on any time and not be worried about getting mugged. I am not worried about muggings but passing out because of the heat and my lack of fitness. They thought that a postal system that brought things straight to your door everyday was shocking. They were more blown away by Amazon Prime, Solomon, screeched like a little girl when the phone he ordered showed up 24 hours later. They told me I was blessed that nobody took packages off my front doorstep. They loved that we didn't have to have 8 foot tall cynder block wall fences around everything.
I say all of this out of love for our country. Take a moment to thank the Lord for the access you have to so much. You drive on roads that are paved. You can get food at a grocery store and droughts don't cause famine. You aren't scared that you will never be able to find a job. You have a bank that is open right now, Greece doesn't! You can tell the president that he stinks to his face and he can't throw you in prison.
We have all of this because so many people fought for our freedom. Through the Lord, our military and those who serve and have served in the past have made this great country available for us to live in.
Can we try as Americans to put things in perspective? We might support or not support the supreme court ruling last week. We might like or not like our current president. We might support or think the global warming concern is ridiculous. I could go on forever.
But we need to remember to love one another and discuss our differences in a loving manner. The one thing that made America is now tearing us apart. That is that we are a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds and people. Don't hate immediately just because the other person has a different opinion. Don't attack, and don't judge. And on the flip side be able to take criticism and don't flip out on someone. Just listen and can we all understand that we won't all be on the same page about everything? Sometimes we need to agree to disagree with someone. You still love them though. Let's remember the bigger picture and what is important. What does God want you to do on this earth? What is our mission while we are here? And how are we supposed to handle ourselves when there are differences?
Take a moment to love someone you might not have thought of today. Maybe it is saying something nice to a clerk at the grocery store. (if you are headed to the grocery store today I already feel like you need prayers yourself!) Send a text to someone. It can be anything.
We are blessed to be in America. When you are hanging out with friends or laughing with family this weekend remember that. We might have our own issues but look at the big picture. We are blessed for this country and spending the weekend angry about our issues and wanting to argue with people on the other side of an opinion aren't going to get you anywhere. Take a deep breath America, be thankful, thank those who fought for your Freedom, and love well. We so blessed, thank you Lord for my freedom, my country, my friends and family in America and in Zambia.
Don't worry we are letting the Arise Home kids celebrate our American holiday in the best way possible, fireworks: