What is your AFRICA?

Two daughters in school means a new season for this Mommy. More time….to work, exercise, miss my children :), and reclaim some “me time.” A goal that I’ve aimed for when this time in my life came upon me, was to participate in a women’s bible study at my church. A time to recharge, renew, reflect, and have some time with ladies that I really value in my life. Our first meeting is tomorrow and to prepare, I used my coffee time this morning to read the introduction and first chapter of the book we are using.  The author introduces a story – his story – of what led him from a comfortable life as a CEO of a major company to working for a non-profit serving the most ill and poor in Africa. I could tell from the start of this book, that I’d be teary eyed during many readings and by the end of the first chapter was already asking myself similar questions that the author had asked himself, including what my role is in making this world a better place? How can I push myself to consider others beyond daily mundane routines? Where or what is MY AFRICA?

Surprisingly to me, I got my answers clear as crystal as the my day unfolded before me.  A young, single mom struggling with social issues and raising a special needs child. A separated parent needing encouragement. My children needing more patience than I had at the moment. One after one, I seemed to see what I was looking for without even trying. It may not be as glamorous as Angelina Jolie’s international efforts or the author’s of this book. I’m certain it didn’t completely solve any one’s problems that I encountered today or heal any deep wounds. But it was something I could give. If filling up an emotional piggy bank to help someone feel better could work, it was a few coins.

I felt inspired by what I read today to look beyond the things that had me sluggish and grumpy when I woke this morning (worry about a few people in my life, broken toe, cluttered house, carb-free breakfast if you care to know) and wanted to share with you. We all have something to give. It may not be hundreds of mosquito nets in Africa. It may be as simple as a smile to a stranger, an extra 5 minutes of hugs for your child at bedtime, free babysitting for a single parent, showing up and doing instead of saying “call me if you need anything,” or an unexpected warm meal for someone who is hurting. What is YOUR AFRICA? What is our children’s Africa? I believe that no mater what their age, they have something to give as well, and that they learn selflessness (what’s that? It certainly isn’t on many reality shows???) through our example. I learned from another parent and have passed on to my children the following words “you may be some one’s only light today. Go Shine!” I use this often on their love notes in their lunches or in their ears with a goodbye squeeze before the bus pulls up.

Look around. I learned today that it’s not that hard to find “AFRICA” all around you, whatever continent you live on! There are many emotional piggy banks that need filled around us — how much change to do you have to give today??

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