In the morning, I took Bronwyn for some routine bloodwork. She gets this done on a regular basis to check the levels of medicine in her blood, and also to monitor her liver enzymes and other important vitals. This trip to the Doctor used to be filled with anxiety, tears, and woozy tummies. Now it's really routine; Bronwyn hardly flinches at the needle. Of course we have an awesome phlebotomist, who loves and respects Bronwyn and that really makes it better. But yesterday there was trouble with the vein because there is scar tissue developing there from so much use. I can't tell you how much this broke my heart when I heard it. I felt so sad for Bronwyn and how much she has to put up with; how hard she has to work for every little thing. And yet, she is sweet and sunny and almost never complains. She is such an incredible example to me.
Later, that evening, I was priviledged enough to be able to hear Greg Mortenson speak at our local college. If you're not familiar with him, he is best known for the book he wrote called, "Three Cups of Tea," and now his new book, "Stones into Schools." His life's work revolves around promoting peace through the education of children, especially girls, in Afganistan and Pakistan. He does this very successfully because he works very hard to obtain support and "buy-in" from the local communities that will be hosting and running the schools. In this work, Greg is surrounded by adversity. And when I say adversity, I mean the kind that we really don't want to think about, let alone imagine the details of. And yet he continues on with compassion, kindness, understanding, and respect. His goal is to empower people to help themselves, not just to offer assistance to them.
Greg quoted several people in his speech, but the two that resonated with me that night were these: "Even if the world ends tomorrow, I will plant my seed today." (Martin Luther King Jr.), and "When it's dark, you can see the stars." (A local village leader). Suddenly I remembered that all that matters is what I'm doing right now. And yes, it's important for me to think of how my actions might impact the future, but the future is created now. And also, I realized that there is beauty everywhere and hope everywhere. Even when (and almost especially when) it's dark.