Finding Gratitude in the Difficult Sacrifice

Finding Gratitude in the Difficult Sacrifice May 21, 2020

When I read Rachel Makaiwi-Tuiasosopo’s post during a quick break from work, all the feels and reasons and purposes of her post settled in my heart.  She beautifully captured in a few words the struggle and victory over self to accomplish a larger goal.  She brought hope to my different, yet similarly charged, struggle. And I’m grateful she agreed to let me share her post this way.

Finding Gratitude

From Rachel Makaiwi-Tuiasosopo

I am not a morning person.

When I was a teen/ young adult and my dad would wake me up early for a Dawn Patrol surf sesh, I would dramatically wear my big fuzzy robe until we got right up to the water. 

Last year, I accepted an invitation to serve a virtual mission for BYU PathwayConnect, a reduced cost online program for those working toward degrees. My assignment: Southeast Africa Virtual. Which is great. But it also meant my cohort would meet at 6 am Hawaii time.

When I started, I had a newborn, a struggling to adjust to middle-child life toddler, and a preschooler who needed to get to school by a certain time each day. I also usually go to sleep well after midnight because that’s when I have time to get things done without having to tend to my kids. Man, those first few months were hard.

It’s still hard. I am still not a morning person. Most mornings when I hear my alarm, I regret accepting the calling (it’s true, don’t judge me). I start strategizing my plan to resign. I rationalize why I can’t do it, I shouldn’t do it, etc. But I always end up waking up, getting myself ready, and hopping onto the computer. And I’m always happy that I do.

I have students in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda, Madagascar, and the Congo. Their lives are so different than mine. I learn much from their worldview. Their gratitude and positivity are contagious.

We all make sacrifices for what we feel is important.

As a “first world” person, rising early and preparing gatherings for free is a sacrifice. My students, on the other hand, might sacrifice being out late in a cafe for shaky internet despite dangerous gangs roaming, or not using any lights in their home so that they can power their phone (many of them don’t have laptops or tablets to use for their studies) because they value education.

Gratitude shouldn’t be a comparative result. But I often do feel more grateful on the mornings that I wake up early and talk to my cohort in Africa. Like the sun in the sky, they brighten my morning. I am grateful for them.


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