What’s my $1 million wish?

money
This is the question posted on the TED blog today: What’s your $1 Million Wish for the World? They are taking nominations for their 2015 TED Prize, a $1 million award to a visionary with a great big idea for creating change in the world.

Before March 31st you can nominate a mentor, a hero, a co-worker, even yourself. TED wants to give $1 million to someone who has a great wish and the track record that suggests they could accomplish it. It will be very interesting to find out who they pick.

I tried to think about a great wish today, but honestly my heart and head is full now with sad and painful emotions. My mom’s husband of the last 30 years (not my dad, but a very special man) has been in the hospital for weeks and has only deteriorated. They will move him by ambulance back to his home tomorrow. This is very difficult for my mom who is already fighting stage-four cancer. It is very hard for my family who live close by and do the daily care.

My great wish today is for no more sickness, death, and suffering.

I pray faithfully for a lot of people who are sick and dying… some days I get very discouraged and frustrated because I don’t get the answers I want. I would rather take it on myself to protect the ones I love from pain. I want to make the hurt and illness and tears and fear all go away… but I can’t do that.

$1 million won’t get me my wish.

We live in a broken world. Disease and death are not the only hardships. There are so many more. Some injustices make me mad. Some hurtful actions break my heart. Sadness will never end here on earth. The only place without pain is our eternal home.

I can offer hope.

It would be easy for me to settle for resignation and depression since I can not cure the ills of this world. I am often tempted to give up. However, there is much I can do. Like the TED nominees, I can create change in the world. It may be a very small change… a hug, a word of encouragement, a prayer, an offer to help…  What I do may not win me a $1 million prize, but it may earn me a smile. Maybe I can’t take away the heavy burden, but I can help to lighten the load.

While I am here, I can give. Maybe that”s why I am still here for now.

What is your $1 million wish? Where would you create change in the world?

(Do you know someone to nominate for the TED prize?)

when holidays hurt

broken ornamentMy husband’s family lost both mom and dad in the last year. Christmas will feel empty at times, like something is missing… because they are gone. There will be a longing in our hearts, tears in our eyes, and arms aching to hug someone who is not there.

My friends have not had any contact with their daughter for 10 years. They can not see or communicate with their grandchildren. They don’t know what they did. They also lost a younger son to cancer over five years ago. Family gatherings are not easy for them. Pain is always there.

Special friends are terminally ill. My mom is battling cancer. I am so very grateful she is with us this year – we did not dare to hope that a year ago, but treatments make celebrations difficult: energy is low, appetite is gone, fears of the future lurk in the corners of our mind.

My sister’s son lives far away. He is making life choices that are not the best. She worries about him and struggles with how to respond and relate to him – words chosen carefully, trying to show more love and less disapproval, but it is hard. Even a phone call takes more emotional energy than is available at times.

Lack of money stresses others. How to explain to the pleading eyes of a child that “Santa” will not bring that new toy? How to help a teenager understand that the new trendy phone is not in your budget, and they do not “need” what “all” their friends already have?

Even inner battles over how to celebrate can plague us. How many presents do we buy? How much do we spend on (more!) decorations? How many parties do we attend? How much food do we eat? … when we know others around the world have no clean water, or food, or shelter… How do we reconcile marketing pressures with message focus?

Tears and laughter are both part of our life-long journey. No one is exempt. A very wise man once said…  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

I have a burden on my heart to pray for those who hurt this year – that they will have someone near to share a shoulder to cry on and hold them in a hug that says that they are loved. Maybe in some cases, that someone will be me.

I also want to delight in the sweet and happy moments of this year and live them to the fullest – not let petty, insignificant things steal my joy or lose my focus… savor every decoration, Christmas carol, and special flavor, and store them as deposits in my soul… because one day I will need to draw from them… or share them with others.

Is there pain in your heart this year?

How do you help others when they are hurting?