Monday, May 08, 2006

Inspiration and thankfulness

I sell books online through as a part-time business. It's a lot of fun, especially if you're a book lover like myself. I take advantage of local sales, thrift stores and the like to find merchandise. A very dear friend of mine also sells books, so we decided to head to Tucson, AZ to the Tucson library's big sale today. It's about a three hour roundtrip drive, so I brought along "The Story of My Life; an Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky", an audio book I got on a discount table at the local Safeway for us to listen to.

We sat, riveted, listening to this girl's incredible story, the highway rushing by us, the familiar terrain all but unnoticed. Her story is filled with the worst about human beings and conversely the best. About the horrors of war, of deprivation, of devastating loss. But also of kindnesses and gifts received from other people, strangers many of them. What she went through, what she deals with now in the aftermath of her experiences, is overwhelming. And she's only 19 years old. Listening to this account of Farah Ahmedi's life brought into focus how incredibly fortunate I am to live where I live, to be in a country that, for all its problems, is a wonderful place. I can't even imagine the conditions under which she lived for the first 16 years of her life.

My worries were put into perspective, and I felt chastened. I have so much to be thankful for; a wonderful relationship, a family that loves me, sweet little animal beings that I love and who love me, food on my table, a warm, safe, happy home. These are all incredible blessings that I am thankful for every day.

I also felt deeply inspired by her story (which we didn't finish completely; she and her mother have just arrived in America). How the human spirit is capable of suffering so much yet still holding onto hope. How people endure, what they survive, is incredible. And I will be sending blessings and good energy her way, my wish for her to have a happy life despite all she has endured. And continue to express my gratitude for all the wonderful blessings in my life, things I take for granted that we forget to be thankful for.

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