Myanmar Lessons of Simplicity and Beauty

So many lives are spent on this lake and they never see the outside world!
So many lives are spent on this lake and they never see the outside world!

I’m going to take you back to December 2004 to one of the most amazing trips.  We traveled to Myanmar with my first child who was just 4 months old.  From Yangon to Inle Lake, we got to experience traveling with a child for the first time.  Amazed to see the hearts of the Burmese open to us instantly at the sight of our little, white skinned, blonde boy, caught me by surprise.  You may wonder why it took me 12 years to finally write about it and share these photos with you and I will get to that in a minute. First Myanmar: a step back to simplicity, rich culture, pain and suffering, yet pressing to a new future.  A land of wonder and beauty but what captivated me were the people.  We got to hear the struggles of minority groups feeling pressed to fit into a foreign world as they had to conform to the dominant race of their country  The fear of standing up for their people, beliefs, and land.  But, on the outside smiles and little distance between us as a child often brings to the traveling relationships.

Readily welcomed into homes, this is me realizing how wonderful these people are!
In the market buying hats, socks, and scarfs. The lake is much colder then Yangon.
In the market buying hats, socks, and scarfs. The lake is much colder then Yangon.

This memory is so distant for me because it was followed by what I can only describe as a whirlwind of years to come marked by a race of endurance, joy, and great hardship.  Within the next several years, we birthed 3 more kids, began a thriving NGO, and lost our partner and best friend to a massive heart attack at a young age.  I look back with awe that this great work with 65 nationals still stands today and recognize it as a God sized task. We’ve been called entrepreneurs for this work but feel unworthy of such a title because we remember that establishing a work that helps thousands of lives each year came from suffering of many and even death.  The death of our partner took years to grieve because of the great need to lead others at that time, there was little time for our bodies to go through the natural grieving process.  But, as you may know, grieving will and must happen.  I think it was the sense of responsibility to the lives who depended on us that paused many delightful things in our life.  Grieving can do that sometimes.  Though the pain of death may leave us, it still changes our lives and perspectives and often it takes awhile and even years to celebrate the good times.

Life On Inle Lake
Life On Inle Lake

With that said, lets get back to those forgotten years.  Its only Myanmar that I get to see my husband wearing a skirt! Its only Myanmar where I get to walk the paths and learn about their traditional medicine to treat most all of their sicknesses.  Its only Myanmar where one can spend their whole life on a lake with all needs met by the rich water below teeming with fish and nutrients for the vegetables.  And, its only Myanmar where my son gets painted each day with Thanaka powder by beautiful Burmese ladies.

bathing-in-spring
Bathing in the spring. This is the only option as homes around the lake do not have running water. This spring was freezing!!

I think of all this and want to encourage you today to accept each day as it is.  Enjoy the morning breeze, take in the sunrise, hold your kids tight, walk hand in hand with your love, and take in all that today has for you!  Don’t let the sense of responsibility or pain hide the joy and gifts that are there for you today!

marc-in-a-skirt
Marc posing in his longyi (man skirt) and Breckinridge shirt!

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4 Comments on “Myanmar Lessons of Simplicity and Beauty

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories and stories. What a remarkable group of people and a strong positive message at the end. Lovely post.

    Like

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