If you have ever been on a plane, you know how small things look from up in the air. Everything takes on a different size; the buildings that seemed impossibly high from the ground become minuscule little dots on the ground. Our perspective shifts because everything looks different from up high and it is a good reminder of how big this world is and how small we actually are. Having just spent 9 days in Cambodia, I have once again had my perspective shifted. I have had certain views and ideas challenged and I find myself coming back home with a changed heart.
If you know the history of Cambodia, you know how hard that country has had it, however they have found the strength to rebuild from the rubble. The country has the ability to make you smile in one breath and rip your heart out in the next. The people are some of the most loving and giving people I have ever met. Most of them have very little in the way of possessions, yet they happily invite you into their homes and share what little they have. They are welcoming, loving and accepting. They are amazing and their ability to keep going, to show kindness to strangers, has touched my heart. Their resilience and grit has challenged me.
Throughout the trip I have come face to face with pain and poverty. I have seen hopelessness in the eyes of some children and it has undone me. This trip has once again reminded me that life is not always fair and that there is always someone who is worse off that I am. It has also reminded me that I have a responsibility to do something about it. While I would be naive to think that I could fix it all, I know that I can help make life a little better for at least a few people. We can all do something to help someone else. The question is whether or not we want to.
There is so much need out there in the world. If you don’t believe me, just turn on the news and watch for yourself. And with the world the way that it is, it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all and think that it is too big to do anything about. And for just one person, it is too big. But collectively, it’s not too big. Collectively, if everyone did something, even something small like donate a few dollars to a cause or spend a night feeding the homeless, we can shift things. Again, it is a matter of perspective. You can either see it as too big a problem to fix, or you can view it as an opportunity to impact someone’s life for the better. You can view it as an opportunity to use what you have to help someone else. Perspective.
Travelling through the villages of Cambodia gave me a different perspective of my life back home. Things that have upset me and left me a little heartbroken do not seem like such a big deal anymore because my perspective has shifted from myself to others. Now, I am not saying that things in our everyday life aren’t important and shouldn’t upset us, because we all have things in our life that are important to us and we can’ the help but get upset when something goes wrong, or someone hurts us. What I am saying is that we need to stop and assess what we get worked up about because in the grand scheme of things, how big of a deal is it. Some things are a huge deal, such as illness and the like, but some things are really not that big a deal and I am determined to not give certain things more attention than they deserve. I am more than ever looking to my Maker to guide me on what to do next because I want to make the most of what I have and impact as many people as I can in my lifetime. And this is not me playing the martyr or having some God complex where I think I can save the world. I couldn’t even keep my goldfish alive, so it’s a safe bet that I will not be able to save the world. No, this is about me wanting to point as many people to Jesus as I can and help as many people as I can in any way I can. Not because it’s the cool thing to do but because it is the right thing to do. It is the necessary thing to do.
Life is fleeting and in the blink of an eye it could all be over, so I don’t want to waste time on unnecessary things. I don’t want to look back on my life in my old age and wish I did more; I want to look back and know that I poured out everything I could into my life and into the people around me. And right at this moment, my prayer is that I never lose this perspective.