29 November, 2008

Home Again

So we are back from Cambodia...

It's hard to believe that the trip is over. I apologize for the lack of posting... I took the week to recover and enjoy my family. It also took time to sort through the 1,000+ pictures I took of our time there.

I will try to post pictures and stories so you can get some idea of what the trip was like...

With the trip ending so close to Thanksgiving it helped to re-prioritize what is important. Not to be cliche, but when you encounter more joy in a rural village, that has nothing of what the world says it should, than in your own community (or life) which "has it all," it makes you think.

Or the joy of the girls in the home, or the joy of the kids who smiled over a PB&J (that story to come later).

We spend Thanksgiving indulging on food, instead of cooking something simple and enjoying those in our lives. But should we need a day to get together and say, "I love you," shouldn't that just be a posture in our lives?

I in no way believe that the people we encountered have an wonderful life. They struggle for money, food, health care, their homes fall apart, their children get hurt, their marriages go through bad times, the people in their lives fail them. But what is different is their response. Coming back from trips like this I have to admit my sympathy for what I call "American problems" wanes. I have a hard time listening to people's financial woes when they are in the wealthiest 10% of the population (we all are in the U.S.) and spend their money on things that aren't important, or people worrying about their employment when there are "now hiring" signs all around town, or the petty little things that define our (my) lives here and rob us (me) of the joy these villages have.

The point: prioritizing what's important.

I am constantly amazed at the generosity of the poor - the people who will literally give you the cloak off their back, when we won't give them a shirt from our suitcase... It's in the simplicity, the uncluttered life, that one can focus on what's important - realizing that nothing is eternal, and, in some ways, nothing is ours.

The trip was incredible and as I miss the people I encountered and only regret I did not get to know them more...