There are moments in a mother’s life when you see your child’s past, present, and future flash before your eyes. Recently, this happened to me when I saw the following article about my daughter, Elya, on the front page of the UCLA International Institute webpage.
Senior Writer Kevin Matthew astutely captured the essence of Elya’s life and experience in his article, “Global Studies Thesis Award Goes to Student with Ethos of Service.” Her “Ethos of Service” stated in one impacting phrase quoted from her email:
‘”I grew up being taught that the only thing important in life is what you do to make the world a better place…. I know that the majority of the world lives in poverty and cannot be ignored.”
Ethos: the fundamental and distinctive character of a group, social context, or period of time, typically expressed in attitudes, habits, and beliefs.
From the time Elya was little, she could not pass up a street beggar without reaching for money in her pocket. She has always felt compassion for those less fortunate than herself. Her empathy often moved her to action.
If I could encapsulate my mother’s dreams for this enchanting young woman, it would be that she shares God’s heart for the peoples of this world. I longed for her “ethos” to extend beyond American culture to the nations.
My prayers filled with longings that she grow up to possess the values, heart, and will to make a difference. Even though this now unfolds before my eyes, I am still amazed at the miracle; a typical youth reared in America chooses to leave these comforts in order to explore what she can give back to the world. She definitely has a drawing towards something not yet fully understood but innately given.
So, here it was in living form right before my eyes. Her past—the values her father and I raised her with, her present—right there in a Cambodian school, and her future—a lifetime of service to those less fortunate. Today, my heart is full of blessings!