can’t complain


A girl in Ankor Thom, Cambodia, drawing in the dirt.


For the past three days, online news has been split between Hollywood gossip and images and reports of Haiti.    

I came home from work yesterday, and we played with Fina on the floor while the TV was broadcasting the disaster. As my attention was split between people bawling, trying to haul friends and family out of the ruble, Fina rolled around laughing and shrieking joyfully, her face lit up with a giant, dimpled smile.    

I haven’t had money for a couple weeks now. Until my first pay-day, we’ll be living off seaweed and rice, and food that EunBong’s mother brings us when she visits. I can’t help Haiti in that way, but I can send the best of my intentions and hope that it makes a difference somehow. I can realize how lucky I am, and how miniscule my problems are, essentially self conceived. I can be grateful that my daughter is safe and happy.    

Last night, after writing about Muan, I had a craving for Lotus tea. While EunBong and I sat and drank tea with Fina, she finally sat up for the first time on her own, without any help.


2 responses »

  1. Oh my, Joseph! Your writing is eloquently and simply articulated and even as I’m picturing Fina in the moment you describe her, laughing and sitting up on her own, another compartment of my maternal being is lamenting your current diet of rice and seaweed!

    I understand and respect the value of the life lesson you are learning now; and the nobility of your attitude in accepting responsibility for your situation. In view of the ongoing cataclysm in Haiti, I also feel grateful for all my life has gathered to me; even the hard times that are now part of my bones and being. I know you’ll soon move from subsistence living, just like I knew Dad and I would move from the cabin down on the river once our house was built. The knowledge of the temporal nature of our situation made it an adventure.

    But in my recent memory, I hold the precious experience of Eun Bong’s enthusiastic presence at our supper table. It was a very special part of the way she bonded with me and Dad and became our daughter. (No blueberry pie has appeared on the kitchen counter since you left!) I sent a donation through Avaaz for the relief work they are involved in in Haiti and on a daily basis, send my intentions also. I trust that it will attach to the mass of compassionate energy being directed at this time. And I just put some grocery money into your account with the intention of getting a good night’s sleep tonight, for which I’ll also be grateful!

    Please tell Eun Bong and Fina that I love them! I love you, too, Joseph! And your writing merits a far broader sharing… ~ MOM

  2. Right on Joseph!
    It’s amazing what happens when I start making a mental list of all of the things I have to be grateful for, and all of the people who’ve helped me, either directly or indirectly.
    Btw, I have an envelope for you from Marcus.

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