Saturday, July 04, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

Happy Independence Day to all those who celebrate it! I often think of the freedoms we have in our country and am grateful. There are people all over the world who do not have the ability to feel safe in their own homes, or run to the corner grocery store for food. There are people who cannot speak up, or even go to school. We take so much for granted.

I recently read a book that touched my heart. I didn't know what it was about, but the title intrigued me - "Three Cups of Tea." (www.ikat.org) It ends up the book was about a man who failed to climb K2, the second largest peak in the Himalayas, and weak and sick wandered into a tiny village in Pakistan that wasn't even on the map. While there, the humble villagers gave him the best of their meager resources and helped him become strong again. He was amazed to see that the only education the children received was from a teacher that visited a few times a week. They had to scratch their lessons in the dirt with sticks because they had no paper and no pencils. He vowed to come back and build them a school. That proved to be a problem since upon returning to the US he lost his girlfriend, ended up living in his car, and working double shifts. He rented a typewriter and wrote over 500 letters to celebrities requesting assistance. At long last, he was connected with a billionaire who gave him enough to build the first school.

This is a story of sheer faith and determination - and of being in the flow of grace. To date, Greg Mortenson has built 78 permanent schools and 48 temporary ones and believes that peace in the middle east comes only by educating the children, esp. women. Kids who have an education and opportunity are seldom the ones who join the terrorist enclaves. They are a blessing to their community and educate others. One child at a time, this man is changing the world. Now that is freedom to me - the freedom to live your life purpose without a clue how it is going to work is demonstrated again and again throughout this book. Mortenson even started a "Pennies for Peace" (www.penniesforpeace.org) campaign to help school children becomes socially conscious - they can collect pennies for his cause and know they have helped children across the world. $1 buys an education for one child for a month, and $1 pays a teacher over there for a day. We have no idea how lucky we are. That Starbucks drink could educate four kids, and I'm not saying give up Starbucks (heavens no!), but maybe every now and then skip one and donate it to a worthy cause, whatever that might be. Now that's freedom - the freedom to change a life!

If you feel trapped, remember, that to start the wheels in motion to change your life you only need one new and different thought. That's not such a difficult thing after all.

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