As I sit here listening to the instrumental music of Tim Janis, a whirlwind of thoughts kept pouring. The pictures of devastated buildings, elderly who are fleeing, and faces of innocent children keep appearing in my mind. The news of war in Ukraine and chaos in other countries reflecting the images of suffering, poverty, and pain is difficult to bear.
I started giving up eating sweets and desserts as a sacrifice for the lent season. I figured that a small sacrifice is not so bad. One of our colleagues at work was teasing us about this Bundt cake that he loves so much and even posting it today in one of our slack messages enticing how good it looks. He said today they have a BOGO (buy one and get one free) – wow! I thought that is pretty good. We started teasing him about it.
Then I thought to myself, I can go back to eating sweets on Easter! But the more I think about it, the more I want to deprive myself. I have thought about how there are so many things I used to spend money on – ticket shows, restaurants, gifts for families and friends, and other miscellaneous stuff. Lately, increasingly, I feel that depriving yourself of certain luxuries is not a dreadful thing. Every time I look at my debit card planning to spend, my thoughts go out to those images of people suffering. The pain that they must be feeling every time they wait for medical and food supplies that comes in delivered to them, they wait in line to receive a small plastic bag of essentials. What’s inside? who knows what. I am sure not a lot. And yet, the waiting never bothered them. They are simply happy that they receive whatever is handed to them at that moment.
There were parts in my life that I went through hunger and abandonment. Ironically, at that time, I did not feel that I was missing anything. I accepted the situation as is, never questioned life, and never spoke to anyone about my circumstances. In my teens, I was just with my mom – prayer is all that I know and simply living one day at a time. Hunger was something that my mom and I never talked about. Isolation at its worst and yet I was fine. Happy? Not sure what that means. I am sure it was not a happy time for my mom. All I have seen was her perseverance and hoped that things will be better.
Seeing the people in Ukraine, it breaks my heart, to see the faces of the children for they do not understand why they need to leave their homes behind, why they do not go to school anymore or why they cannot play outside with their friends. The elderly need to walk miles to get to a safe shelter. These are the things that are difficult to explain. What they know, is that they just need to keep on going and follow what seems like anybody else (their neighbors, family members, friends, and even strangers) are doing. Not even knowing when they will ever return to the place, they have known all their lives. Accepting the situation presented as is – they cannot question life and cannot speak to any one of their circumstances. Perseverance is all they know and all they can do to survive with the hope that the situation will be better.
Thinking of going back to eating desserts? I have a feeling it will not be the same sweet taste. Staring at my debit card – for sure it will remain tucked away for a long while.