Last year, she helped found an orphanage
This past weekend, I met a woman who helped create an orphanage in Uganda last year. Seventy two total orphans, those who have no suitable mother or father, now live in a place with clean water. Seventy two beds are filled every night, seventy two bodies go off to school in the morning, and seventy two patients receive care from a nurse whenever they need it.
Much of this is to the credit of a single woman who spent an extra year after her two contracted years of Peace Corp service in Uganda.
What did you do last year?
This news - the thought that someone I've known of for a long time opened an orphanage last year - spun my heart around a bit. Because what did I do last year? A whole lot of nothing in comparison.
My circulating heart hit a nerve that's been raw for awhile. It's the question of whether to live slow and intentionally or make big change.
There is a movement for people to slow down, to take in life and be fully present. I practice this philosophy very often. I cook from scratch every day, finding peace in peeling vegetables, whisking milk into pudding, and washing dish after dish after dish. I can experience beauty in cleaning windows and weeding. I focus on conversations with family and stories with Lil. These daily moments are fulfilling in their way.
But then I feel like I have it in me to do something bigger, to affect change in the huge needy world. I have dreams of starting a homestead school, an unschool resource space, and/or an organic farm. I am a passionate promoter of real, whole, local foods and I want to do something with this enthusiasm.
The rub comes when I try to manage the dreams and the present-ness.
The calendar fills with cooking classes, speaking at conferences, and invitations to do cool things that might make my dreams into reality. Normally slow family dinners are pushed aside so that I can run out the door to this meeting or that event. I become unable to concentrate on a teachable moment with Lil because I am mentally planning something else. Being present slips away.
I know I'm not the only stay at home parent who feels the pull of ideas and family. I've read that retirees and empty nest parents are similarly lost in the world. We have passions and ideas. But is potential success with something down the road worth sacrificing the enjoyment of the everyday?
I don't know. Do you? I need a mentor or an angel investor or a magic way to see in the future.
In the meantime, I will continue to learn about those who are changing the world in big ways. I'll be open to opportunity while trying to enjoy every moment of every day. It's all anyone can do.