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Navigating Life: By Ingrid Ricks

Navigating Life: By Ingrid Ricks

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Published by Ingrid Ricks
It doesn't appear that God is coming to our rescue. But maybe that's the point of life -- to realize that we need to be the support and help we all need.
It doesn't appear that God is coming to our rescue. But maybe that's the point of life -- to realize that we need to be the support and help we all need.

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Published by: Ingrid Ricks on Mar 20, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/30/2012

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 NavigatingLIFE 
By Ingrid Ricks
 
I remember the first time
it occurred to me that if there was a God, he or she had adopted astrict hands-off policy when it came to life on earth.I was on a plane flying back to the States after spending six weeks in Africa documenting theplight of orphaned children for a relief organization. Some of that time was spent in SouthernSudan in a region dubbed the Death Triangle because the vast majority of people were eitherstarving to death, dying from malaria or cholera, or being burned or macheted to death bygovernment forces from Khartoum.When I told the woman sitting next to me about the horrific scenes I had witnessed and pulledout a stack of pictures to show her, she sighed.
“I don’t mean to sound crass,” she said, the impatience audible in her tone. “But the way I seeit, this is God’s way of population control.”
 If God was up there and paying attention, I was sure that woman would have been struck downin her
seat. But that didn’t happen. She just went back to sipping her diet soda, munching on
pretzels and reading her book
 –
as if she had an implicit understanding with the higher ups thatwhen it came to suffering, she got a pass.Ten years later I was back in Africa, this time staring at a 19-year-old-girl sitting quietly on whatappeared to be a white plastic sheet, cradling an infant in her arms. The temperature hadclimbed to a sweltering 115 degrees and flies swarmed around her. The relief worker I waswith told me that the white plastic sheet was actually a body bag,
and explained that the girl’s
family was so overwhelmed carrying for other sick relatives that they had left her and her babyto die alone from the AIDS virus that racked their young bodies.Just two weeks earlier,
I had walked into an eye doctor’s office for the first time in my life and
learned I was going blind. No God was coming to the rescue for that 19-year-old girl and hertiny infant. And while my eye situation
couldn’t compare to the horrifying reality in front of me, I knew there wasn’t likely to be help on the
way for me, either.
 
I
t’s been seven years since
that second trip to Africa
and I’ve given up trying to make sense of 
the unthinkable diseases, disasters and actions that cause a teenage girl to waste away aloneon her own body bag, wash away entire communities of people with a single wave, or put arandom death sentence on a nine-month-old baby. Or of why it is that some people seem togo through life unscathed, while others are besieged with unbearable suffering and tragedy.
But as I’ve battled my own fears over a future without eyesight, even while chastising myself for mourning my lost vision when so many people have it so much worse, I’ve somehow
stumbled upon
this powerful force called Now. And for me, it’s become both my lifeline and
secret to navigating life.
Maybe it’s my complete lack of peripheral vision that keeps me focused on the present
moment when the world is plagued by chaos and misery, but after spending weeks in a dark
hole terrified over a future I couldn’t control, I’ve learned that by concentrating on Now, I can
handle the challenges in front of me, am more fully conscious of what matters to me, and havethe ability to embrace life in a way I never did before.For me, Now means soaking up the moments with my husband and two daughters, ages 12 andnine, and memorizing every inch of their faces so that should the
day come when I don’t see
them,
I’ll still be able to picture them clea
rly in my mind. It means being conscious enough to
realize that when I’m feeling stressed and short
-
fused, I have the power to stop what I’m doingand breathe so I don’t waste precious time being angry and causing stress for people around
me. Now also means reducing expenses, which means less client work, which means more timewith family and friends. It means doing everything I can to preserve my remaining eyesight:eating healthy, working out and exploring alternative therapies. It means writing solelybecause I love to write. And it means letting go of accumulated hurt and resentment, because
I’ve learned that the
moments in front of me are too valuable to be burdened by baggage fromthe past.
As I’ve listened to news reports in recent weeks, firs
t about protestors throughout the MiddleEast being murdered simply for expressing their desire to be free, then about the enormity of the loss in Japan
 –
the thousands dead, the half million people displaced, the estimated $100

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Yamina Collins added this note
Interesting piece, Ingrid. I love the part about how NOW is something we can all do something about. As a Christian and a firm believer in God's ultimate goodness, I do think, however, that God allows tragedy in life to happen so that we can be moved to compassion for others. Perhaps one way that God rescues us is by allowing us to have hearts of flesh instead of stone when we see suffering.
This is some fine writing, Ingrid. God must be in the good we do for each other. NRight now is a great time for goodness.
Hyla Molander added this note
Always moved by your writing and ability to remind others of this "powerful force of NOW."
LauraNovak added this note
Your words send chills through me. Not only because of this tragic and unthinkable story in Africa, but because it reminds me that this very moment really is all we have. And the way we live in it is all we can control. Tightly written and trenchant in its message. I love this piece, Ingrid.
Ingrid Ricks added this note
With so much tragedy over the weekend, a reminder that we all need to pull together and help each other. Because NOW is something we can all do something about.
Ingrid Ricks added this note
We can't prevent the disasters wreaking havoc around the globe. But we can help. NOW is something we can all do something about.
"Norman Vincent Peale once said in his book 'You Can If You Think You Can' that after you don't do POST-MORTEMS i.e. don't brood on the past failures, focus on the present because you will have a successful future.
Rose added this note
" . . . instead of expending energy worrying about what awaits us, we should concentrate on doing whatever we can Now to make life better for each other and ourselves . . ." Absolutely!!!

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