Want to live in paradise? Here’s one simple principle to make it happen!

“It’s like paradise here.”
The boy in the wheelchair said these words to us. He spoke cheerfully, his gladness radiating out of his steady, friendly gaze. And we looked at each other in astonishment, humbled by his words.

Andre had been in the orphanage now for years.

Besides that, he’d been in a wheelchair all his life.

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We thought we were serving them.
On Friday night, I filled my shopping cart to the brim with one liter bottles of yogurt and sausages – special requested by the orphanage.

It took three of us to bring it all back to our apartment across the street from the market.

When we got back home, I took a break on the couch and gazed at our other big purchase: a huge plastic sack overflowing with size 5 diapers, bought from the bazaar that morning.

Beside them were colored pencils and paper, two boxes of face paint, a bag of 50 oversized balloons and a few kilos of soft candy.

Our leadership club worked hard to raise enough money for all of this. It was the result a more than a year’s worth of projects.
It felt good.

But then again, as I crawled into bed a half hour later, I felt sad. These kids have no parents. These kids don’t even have bodies that work normally!

We were going to the disabled children’s orphanage, or the Belavodskiy Detskiy Dom dlya Invalidov as the locals call it. It was just an hour outside of my home in Kyrgyzstan’s capitol.

We were about to put on a fun show for them and give them a few hours of happiness.

But what about the rest of the year? What about the rest of their childhood?

They served us.
They had very little to give. And yet, they gave us so much.

They sang for us. They danced for us – with abandon. They took our gifts with huge smiles. They cheerfully welcomed us – and cheerfully saw us off, waving and laughing gleefully.

You see, it’s all about how we see things.

From our point of view, these children were terribly deprived – deprived of home, family, physical abilities and most of the luxuries of life. They lived in a very plain dormitory with very plain food – mostly porridge and potatoes.

From their point of view, life couldn’t be better. They were living life and loving it. They were fed and loved. This was enough.
On top of that, we had come. We were not the best part of their day. We were the icing on their cake. Life was the cake.

Andre’s words summed up the day.
“It’s like paradise here.”

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How do you see your world?
With all that you have and all that you lack, with all of your problems, with all of your failings and fears – how do you see your life? And what picture of life are you painting for others around you?

Andre painted me a new picture. He led me.

Can you see that picture of your life?
“It’s like paradise here.”

I’m guessing this isn’t the principle you expected to see when you read my headline. But this wasn’t what I expected when I went to the orphanage either – and yet, it’s a deep truth.

Paradise is just one mental step away. How do you see your life today?

Paint that picture for yourself and you’ll be happier.
Paint that picture for others and you’ll lead.

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3 thoughts on “Want to live in paradise? Here’s one simple principle to make it happen!

  1. Pingback: VISITING ORPHANAGE HOME | SSA

  2. This is a truly inspiring post. It was incredibly kind of you to do all the work for the orphanage! I’m now motivated to start seeing my life in a more optimistic way. : )

    • Hi Konni! Thanks a lot for the kind words. It’s a daily practice, seeing life more optimistically – but it really changes a person.

      We learned about the orphanage from some other students in town who were doing work there as well – and the orphanage’s story really resonated with students from our group. They really pulled together to do something wonderful. I’m thankful to be connected with them.

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