First World Problems

March 19, 2014

Last month, my husband and I went on our Valentine’s Day date early to avoid the crowds. After dinner we decided to see the movie, The Monuments Men, which is based on a true story of soldiers who were assigned the task of finding and saving famous artwork and sculptures all over Europe during World War II that Hitler had taken for himself.

Afterward, I found myself pondering what life must have been like for those in Europe at the time: those forced to leave their homes, all their possessions taken, as well as those who remained, working in fear of the Nazis, trying to just go through the motions of life and work, hoping to make it through.

Jumana [a Syrian refugee] and her siblings collect waste paper to earn a living.
I was thinking how different my life is from their experience. How easy it is for me to take for granted all of the freedoms I have in this country. How I can get upset about the simplest things—nothing that’s life or death—just daily annoyances.

How my children don’t live in fear of someone taking them from their home, sending them off to an unknown place. There is no fear of being beaten or killed.

There is no rationing of our food or daily supplies in this country. Everything I could want is right at my fingertips.

And I am left wondering: What do I do with all of this knowledge? What do I do with the freedom and privilege that I have in this world?

Do I simply ignore what doesn’t affect my everyday life?

Or am I to stop and notice, see what is going on around the world. What travesties are happening today? Where is suffering happening and how can I help?

And this is why I appreciate Lent. It forces allows me the opportunity to look up, out of the trenches of my everyday life -- where I can get bogged down by the minutiae -- and see what is going on around the world.

I must stop to pray.

I must stop to fast.

I must stop to give.

And it may hurt a little. That’s okay.

Sometimes a reminder about perspective is what I need most.

What have you been learning this Lenten season? What new realizations have you had? What have you found yourself more grateful for?

This week we are once again linking up with Holley Gerth over at Coffee for your Heart.


  1. I don't "do Lent" but I am very aware of how others, especially women, live around the world. It breaks my heart everything we have in this country and how other countries have nothing. The thought of having to make the choice to sell a daughter for food makes me sick. I ask "Why me, God?" I think the answer is so that I (we) can spread the word and ultimately make a difference.

    1. I agree with you. I often think the same thing, and you're right I believe the answer is to raise awareness and make a difference where we can. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That movie obviously inspired you to think outside the box. It is always a good thing to be thankful for our station in life, no matter where we find ourselves. Enjoyed your thoughts.