living with tension

A few years ago, I wrote a post titled “how much is enough?” because I was adjusting back to the US after almost 20 years living abroad. In general, I think I have adapted well to my new life, but I still wrestle occasionally with some things.

This past week has been especially difficult.

Although I am always glad to see a philanthropic heart in action – the recently epidemic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is one example, I can’t help but feel a tug in my heart for the ease with which we waste water… when others in the world are dying of thirst.

water tension

My husband and I went to vote yesterday. It could not have been easier: early voting options, no crowds, friendly and helpful volunteers. It is my “right” in this country – one that many even ignore or take for granted… when others in the world have no rights at all.

voting tension

When I go for my run in the morning, I get to see manicured, blooming flowers and plants, wildlife, lakes and fountains, and stop at Starbucks after to celebrate my effort… while others are running for their lives because of senseless, hate-filled persecution.

running tension

I gripe and complain about inconvenience when I go for medical care (in gorgeous buildings with high-tech equipment) or deal with insurance (that pays a large % of my expenses)… while others are fighting to survive in horribly inadequate facilities.

medical tension

I am almost done with my M.A. studies. It has been a blessing and a privilege to learn with a worldwide cohort… while many young girls cannot even attend elementary school.

school tension

I have more questions than answers when these tensions compete for a place in my mind, my heart, and my pocketbook. I live an incredible life while others struggle to survive. Sometimes I can freely enjoy the gifts without another thought; sometimes I feel guilty and want to DO something that will make a difference.

I pray, give more, evaluate my lifestyle, look for ways to get involved… searching for some amount of peace and reconciliation with the disparities and inequalities of life. Maybe I can encourage others to do the same. I am ok living with tension. It is the least I can do in the middle of my luxury.

Where do you experience tension? How do you handle the tensions in your life? How do you get involved to make a difference?

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A few possible ways to help…
(Feel free to add your favorite giving options in the comments!)

ALS (non-embryonic stem cell research) giving option here.

Options for helping to provide clean water here and here.

Helping children to grow and attend school here.