Friday, June 20, 2008

Learn from the past...Plan for the future...LIVE IN THE PRESENT...

I think President Monson mentioned that in one of his talks recently. This is my motto for the day/week/month/year/whatever. I'm finally here in Zambia and have a lot of mixed feelings. I've waited an entire year to be back here and now I'm here. The thoughts I've been having are, "Okay, so what now?" I'm a teacher, thus I crave and seek control. I like to have everything planned at all times. I like to know what I'm doing, when I'm going to do it always.

Today is a different day. Today I am living in the present. Today I am going to be what God wants me to be. I'm not going to try to plan it, I'm just going to be it. But how do you be it, if you don't know what it is you're supposed to be? That's where faith comes in. You don't have to plan to be you just be. Makes perfect sense right?

We have no control of the past and no control of the future. We have control of the present. We are powerless in the past and future but have complete power in the present. We can accomplish much in the present. We can change a life in the present. We can love a child in the present. We can play marbles with a bunch of street kids in the dirt in the present. God wants us to be in the present.

Today we visited a facility that supplies food for some of the street kids here. I asked them where they lived. They all looked at me like I was crazy. "We live in the streets," they said. Then they proceeded to describe what area of the street they stayed. I asked about their families. Some have none and some have relatives. I asked how old they were when they started living on the streets. I asked about their schooling. I asked every question I could think and the responses overwhelmed me. This is their world. This is how life is. This is what they do. When I got on the bus after talking with them I broke into tears as I do most often when we leave a village or compound or pretty much anywhere we go. I, once again, tried to make sense of it all. I can't. I don't have the power to fix it. I can't make it better. But HE can and HE will. I thought about how much I loved dancing with them, playing drums with them, playing marbles in the dirt, throwing the frisbee around. The smiles on my faces and their faces. We were happy. Do you know why???? We were living in the present. At that moment all was well. Our spirits were being fed by each other and we found joy because we chose to live in the present. Think about the times when you are happiest in life. It's not when you are thinking about what's going to happen next. It's not when you are thinking about what happened before. It's when you're chillin' on the floor next to your child playing leggos...It's when you are taking a walk in the park enjoying the beauty around you...It's when you're talking on the phone to a dear friend...It's when you're driving to the bank to make a deposit...It's when you're putting on your shoes to go for a run...It doesn't matter what you're doing as long as your doing it at that moment.

Well, that's enough for now. No pictures, haven't taken any since I've been here. Life is good. God is in charge. Let's let Him be in charge and keep a prayer in our heart at every moment so we can be what He needs us to be at that exact moment.

Tomorrow I will be going to stay at the orphanage for who knows how long. It might be a night, might be a week, might be a month. I, unfortunately, do not have access to the internet while I'm there. The only thing I will have access to are the rats that run around me while I sleep...AND my sweet wonderful kids. I can't wait to see them and be with them. It might be a bit before I blog again.

Love you all!!!

9 comments:

Stephanie said...

This makes me cry for so many reasons. For you, number one, because I miss you, for those children and the life they lead, and for your wonderful lesson that you have already learned. I'm not kidding in the least when I say I want to be more like you. It takes great courage to have the faith needed to do what you are doing. I wanted to call you so badly yesterday, so I'm happy to hear from you today. I love you Heather. I just love you.

Heidi said...

This is one of the many reasons you needed to spend your summer in Africa. For yourself, so you could "get it" again, and for the rest of us, so we could learn from you what really matters. Thank you so much for sharing these vital lessons and helping those of us at home to realize that what matters most are the simplest things in life. My day, and hopefully more, will be different because of what I learned from you today. I love you!

Stacie Raddatz said...

I LOVE your message!!! Life doesn’t need to be planned, it doesn’t need to be spectacular. We can do it every day in natural, comfortable ways. Mother Teresa said “do small things with great love.” Christ showed us this also. Thank you for sharing. Your words are such a treasure.

Breezy said...

What a beautiful post. My parents just returned from Tanzania and had similar thoughts. It is good for all of us to remember God has a plan for each of us. I sometimes get in the mode where I just want to see the whole plan but then I have to remember I already did; and I was thrilled. I'm excited for your adventures and looking forward to your next post.

Raddad said...

You never think about, or at least, I didn't, what will become of your children when they grow older. Seems like it takes all your energy just to raise them. Now as I set and look at what has become of my six children some 30 years later, I am amazed. I am so grateful for Heather and her willingness to reach out into the unknown and give her love to people and children she doesn't even know and for her willingness to take them in her arms and allow them to feel love like they may never have felt it before. When I read your story of these children Heather, I feel my heart swell wide as eternity as did Enoch's of old. May the Lord bless you and watch over you and guide you to be where you need to be and with whom you need to be. I am so very grateful to have the honor of calling you daughter. Dad

Raddad said...

When your kids are little you don't, or at least, I didn't, spend a great deal of time wondering what they would do when they got older. What an incredible feeling to set here now some 30 years later and see what has happened. I am so grateful for my children and what they do in life. I am amazed at Heather's willingness to reach out to complete strangers with so much love and caring. When we see what she is seeing we, like Enoch of old, have our hearts swell wide as eternity. Thank you daughter for helping me see, at least with my heart, what I never could have imagined without you. God bless you and the incredible things you do in your life.

Shelly Karren said...

Hed--LOVED to see several new blog entries. Can I just tell you how good you look? Wow. Thanks for the long post about Zamiba. You're right, the less we think about what's next, the happier we are in the moment. Love you! shells

Brenna said...

Heather,

I laughed and cried during this post. I laughed because it is soo sooo soo you! Cried, well... for the same reason. Oh how I miss living with you. What a blessing that was. Constantly surrounded by your wisdom and strength. I really miss that. And I totally needed your message today. I've been living in the future... wanting so badly to be somewhere I'm not. I truly need to cherish the blessing of today. I need to go back to my moments of the now. That is what makes me happy.

Luv luv,
Bren

Nichole said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog and post. I so needed to hear about living in the present today! You are full of wisdom.