It’s All First World Problems {Practicing Gratefulness}

It’s All First World Problems {Practicing Gratefulness}

gratefulnessRecently, my husband Josh went on a medical mission trip with the New Orleans Medical Mission Services (NOMMS). He went to Matagalpa, Nicaragua for a week and volunteered his time as a nurse anesthetist. When he first told me about the trip, I was apprehensive. I would be on my own for a week, working from home with both kids and an ailing father on hospice. I was also nervous about him being so far away in an area that isn’t very safe. But I knew this was important to him, and he would be able to help so many people. After the trip, I realized that while my fears were accurate, what I was facing was nothing compared to the lives of the people he was helping.

Pressing forward

I was blessed that my sister in law was able to stay with me while he was gone, and on her days off it was a huge help. When she went back to work though, it wasn’t much different from when Josh is home. She also works long hours like Josh (he does overnight too), so I was used to being on my own. But the company was nice! The day to day turned out to not be as terrible as I thought it would be. Except that my dad took a huge down turn that week. Physically handling it was ok, it was not having my husband around for emotional support that was the hardest. I desperately wanted to call and talk to him, and it just wasn’t feasible.

We have it good

matagalpa hospital
The hospital in Nicaragua

When we did get to talk, he told me how some of these people in Nicaragua had waited years for a knee replacement in a city that’s full of hills and steps. Modern medicine and healthcare just aren’t the norm and conditions are deplorable. On this trip alone, NOMMS did over 90 surgeries in seven days. I realized that while my dad was doing poorly, we were blessed that he has healthcare and the option of hospice. We are blessed to have two healthy children, clean water, air conditioning and plumbing. We have two vehicles, jobs, our children are receiving an education, and we have a safe place to lay our heads every night.

Keep giving back

When Josh came home, our entire outlook on the world and our lives had shifted. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the life I’ve been given and so happy he could be a part of this mission. We have always given back, to organizations like St. Jude’s and the MDA. It made me realize what would happen to someone in another country who had cancer or muscular dystrophy? There isn’t much help. Josh has decided he’s going to do a mission again next year, and I have gotten involved in the annual gala for the organization.

Any time I’m feeling overwhelmed with daily struggles of life, I try to remind myself that it’s all first world problems. I am blessed to have these daily life struggles and live in a country where I can even worry about which school to choose for my kids or what neighborhood we live in. I’ll take my first world problems any day.


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