For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the relative prosperity of the developed world we are generally accustomed to having things go well for us in life. We have a minimum set of expectations that include having comfortable shelter, adequate clothing, and enough food to satisfy our desires. In fact our expectations have steadily risen beyond the basic necessities of life to include the expectation that we can and will enjoy many of the prosperous extras of our culture. We have a strong entitlement attitude that is a part of our emotional makeup. Our expectations have risen to the point that when occasionally things do not go our way it is very easy for us to quickly become critical and negative. I am afraid we have developed, far to frequently, into a generation of whiners. However, for the people that New Hope Initiative ministers to, those living in the developing world, their expectations are often a great deal more basic than ours. They expect life to be hard. They are never shocked when difficult times arise. They intensely enjoy times of blessings, but they have no expectation that these good times will continue. I witnessed a great illustration of this attitude when we came across a young man in Kibera this summer who only had one shoe. Looking from the cultural perspective of a 21st century American we immediately formed an opinion of the situation and asked him how he had lost his other shoe. I will never forget the straightforward, yet incredibly insightful answer of this young man. "I didn't lose a shoe...I found one."
We should all learn a lesson from the simple wisdom of this young man. Life is sweeter, life is more intensely enjoyed, life is considerably more blessed when we set aside our expectations, when we shelve the entitlement philosophy of our generation and begin to be appreciative of every joy, every blessing, and every found shoe in life. This week why don't you try to focus on the things you have found, instead of the things you have lost! A shoe found is a lot more enjoyable than a shoe that has been lost.
By Sandy Baird - Director of New Hope Initiative