Exactly one year ago, I started on a journey that changed my life in a way that was magical, indescribable, and awe-inspiring. India, it’s a place I’ve gone before, but that time I was a bawling infant and had no idea where I was and it didn’t really matter. The six weeks I spent there changed my whole viewpoint on life. We started off in North India. Traveling from New Delhi to Agra to Rajasthan all the way down to Kerala. Everything I saw there, it proved to me how the life I live here in the United States is so cushioned. My generation has no idea how easy we have it. We are blessed more than you could ever envision.
When we traveled through New Delhi, I saw the world for what it really is. I saw how people in the world really lived. They struggled to feed their children; they worked hard in their jobs no matter how menial it was. But while I was there, it was hard noticing all this, seeing as how we stayed in our comfortable hotel room, and didn’t have to deal with any of those “problems.” Then when I got to Agra, which is one of the most beautiful cities in India, and holds the Taj Mahal. It kept getting to me how different my life was then any other sixteen year old there. It was really discomforting to think that I had it twenty times better than any other kid there, but back home all I ever did was complain and whine about what I didn’t have.
When I got to Rajasthan, we stayed with a good friend of my dad’s who was a missionary/pastor in that country. In the few days that we were there, I learned so much. I saw all that he and his family did for the people in that country, and it touched me. I felt so inadequate, seeing how I’d gone through life for so long never caring about the people around me, and how they faced so many hardships and struggles. In those moments, I made a decision. I determined not to go through life without caring any longer. I wanted to make a difference.
I can’t say that I have been perfect since that trip, but I can say that I will never forget all the life lessons I learned, and what all I saw. Before I left, I made a decision to help out as much as I could in the country that changed my outlook on the world. I now help out many charities in Rajasthan, and here, as well. Since that experience, I have started volunteering at hospital and the library and for anyone in need. The old saying, “it’s better to give than to receive” has finally proved a point to me, and I’m glad for it.
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