Lately I have been struck by the concept of Living In-Between. Right now, my wife and I are in the midst of moving, downsizing because our kids are grown and gone. We are relocating from one state to another, from the four season beauty and endless winters of the northeast to the unrelenting sunshine of the south. While it is a privilege to have that freedom to change our living situation as we age (gracefully), it is nevertheless disconcerting. There is a disconnection taking place. Yes, we know or hope that new connections will complement the old enduring ones and we know our kids and close friends will visit (especially during the winter months). But, the psychological impact of displacement and not knowing when and where we will lay our heads while in-between remains. The hard part for me is that the regardless of my rationalization of our current situation, I feel like a spoiled little child. How self-absorbing it is to think that my problem is actually a problem at all!
The contradiction is simple. My job, which I love, is to help organizations focused on the alleviation of poverty. And, I know that those suffering at the edge of existence have few, if any, options. Their focus is on today. Their needs are those of basic survival. How do I feed my family today? How do I earn enough to take care of my sick child today? How do I deal with the intensity of my living environment today, whether it be sub-Saharan Africa, rural south Asia or any other place where marginalized families struggle to survive? It makes me feel guilty, even a little childish. Thankfully, I have the reality of my work to bring me back into focus.
The Greater Impact Foundation, www.greaterimpactfoundation.org like many other organizations with a social mission offer me a view of reality that reminds me of how blessed I really am. The luxury of lamenting my sense of in-between-ness fades away quickly when I think of young children starving for regular meals, starving with the desire to go to school, starving with the desire just to be a kid, starving for a world where instability is replaced by stability. The self-absorbed attitude dissipates when I think of the fortitude required by families living on the edge and the accompanying grace I have come to know despite their desperate situation. Suddenly, I feel better, though somewhat ashamed that I let my self-aggrandizement get the better of me. A dose of reality does wonders for the soul.