Friday, June 15, 2012

"Be Grateful for All and Everything You Have"

In life, there are experiences you go through. Some will help you see things in a different perspective. I hope that by reading the following experience you realize that being grateful isn't just realizing what you have but also finding a way to help those in need.

About a year ago, a friend asked me to attend a charity event to help a school in need. Due to the devastating earthquake Haiti had experienced in 2010, they lost many things including family and friends. I didn't think twice about attending, but I was captivated by the fact that my friend was going to make a trip to Haiti and help those in need. Well, she kept her word, she made the trip and came back with a different view on life. This is her view:
Back home, every day I manage to find at least one thing to complain about; just one thing in my selfish mind that I feel I will die without. I have lived my life searching for material things that will feed my life and make it complete, but those things never seemed to fulfill me. I have good health,  a stable job, a home, food on the table everyday (and not just once a day), great friends and a wonderful family, I even have pets. Don't get me wrong, I'm neither rich nor do I live what our society would call a "comfortable life" but I have so much more than many others.  A recent trip to Haiti, taught me a harsh but vital truth: Be grateful for all and everything you have!

We landed! As soon as I stepped out of the aiport the life of Haiti hits me right in the face, it's not shy at all! A nice bus ride to the terminal and a local band playing in the entrance of the terminal gives you a real sense of the country. A country fighting to improve their lives and ways of living. A country, that even though all odds are against them, still dances, laughs and smiles and what smiles they have! 

Now, close your eyes and picture this; the air is dry and dusty. There are buildings, houses, and businesses that have crumbled down or will with any other slight movement of the earth. Picture a ton of communities where a home is only a camping tent and this is if you are fortunate enough to have a roof over your head. Imagine living in a place where running water is a luxury. A place where the main sources of transportation is walking or if you are lucky enough to have some money you can get on a motor taxi or the back of a pick-up truck. Think of taking a bath outside of your home with buckets of water or taking a bath at the nearest river, I mean having to walk a few miles just to wash clothes.  Imagine having to walk to the town plaza, the nearest church ,or the nearest store that has electricity to sit under a light to study for school because at home having electricity is not an option. Can you imagine your life without the essential things you have, water, light, gas, a home and food? Yet everyday we take all these things for granted. Let's go beyond this, think about your life without "the perks" of our everyday life, computer, phones, Internet access, car, shoes, name brand clothes and eating out 2-3 times a week. All of this and we still want more, we are still unsatisfied. Still in the midst of all the needs the people of Haiti have, I see people laughing and being grateful for what they have. People talking and sharing memories amongst each other, children playing, waving to you and as your eyes meet theirs they give you a huge bright sweet smile as if they had no worries in their lives at all. It breaks my heart to see how the people of Haiti live! Yet we're the ones always wanting more and complaining about it. 

Now you may be asking yourself why would I be sharing all of this? What do I want you to do? If you are I'm glad I got your attention! I'm not going to sugar coat it: I'm sharing this because most of us live a very ungrateful life and its time to reevaluate and evolve, it's time to change! 
I am asking two things of you today:

My first one is to be honest with yourself. When was the last time you said, I'm happy, my life is wonderful, I'm the luckiest? Believe me I'm not implying that life does not have it's tough, crappy and at times even heart breaking days. We all go through trauma and obstacles but yet we all have so much more than others. Let's take an oath and promise ourselves to be grateful, even if today the only thing you can be grateful for is another day.

My second thing today is to share some of what you have. Let's stop being selfish. We all struggle, we all have needs, but I bet you can always find someone in more need than you. I know I will not stop hunger by myself or homelessness but I can help. I'm not asking that you take away from your family. Just think of how many things you spend money on every week that you don't absolutely need. The average family now a days eats out 2-3 days a week. Make it 1 day a week and take $50 dollars to give to a needy family. Take one month a year and don't buy any new clothes, shoes, furniture etc and donate the money instead to a charity. It's truly really easy if we stop thinking of our needs only. Believe me the feeling you will receive from helping others will be more rewarding than any new item you can buy for yourself or your family.

Be grateful for all and everything you have!
   Ligia Diaz


  1. What a nice post! This is the reason I went to Honduras twice in a row and the reason I keep trying to send a team of volunteers every year, because only by seeing this reality with one's own eyes is one able to comprehend. And by doing so, our minds and hearts become wide open. Not everyone has the time or means to travel to an empoverished country but there are so many with so little just down the street! Thanks for posting your friends testimony!

  2. I enjoy reading others' experiences. Partner...our Hermana Yokasta (pledged grad) runs a yearly chapter event where we collect school supplies and she personally takes them to a small, one-room schoolhouse in DR where kids expect our donations to be able to be prepared for school. You should talk to Yokasta. It's a great project.