Born into privilege, born into poverty, born a certain colour, a certain gender, the beginning of life sets the scene and then we try to determine our fate, as those around us also try to determine theirs.
Why me? Why did I have the opportunity to grow up in a country where there is social welfare, relatively free education, safety nets, political and religious freedom.
Why did others grow up where there was none of these things?
As a child of the diaspora I find myself reflecting on this a lot lately, what can I do for those who are fated to be of my mother’s beloved country, Papua New Guinea?
Can I just be satisfied bringing my family up to be peaceful as Mother Theresa is famously said to have said to those seeking world peace?
For the last few weeks I just get an awful feeling in my stomach when reading the news. I look for miracles for the blog, but it seems everywhere the world is in travail.
People cut off heads at football matches, world woman celebrity is possibly in a domestic violence situation despite her empowered status, and now she escapes but in silence, my mother’s beloved country, Papua New Guinea, has escalating levels of violence and ill health. And on top of that people in privileged countries turn to ‘legal’ drugs they can order online to receive some sort of rush and youths commit suicide or can’t find work.
Is there something I can do beyond remember and acknowledge these things happening and beyond just raising my own family, and taking care of people in my own town. I think of incredible women standing up for human rights, and being slaughtered and raped, and it is soul wrenching.
What if fate had put me in a different country, without this privilege I recognise fully that I have, what would I expect, accept, understand? What if? What has made me who I am?
I think of Buddha’s journey beyond the confines of his upbringing, to gain spiritual insight, to understand suffering. I think of how so many of us need to go on that journey, but we can through both physical, spiritual and emotional travel. I think of Baha’u’llah’s journey to the Prison City of Akka, and all those spiritual teachers, who suffered to promulgate the values of peace, compassion and love. Their actions, not just their writings, inspire. They are the real deal. Their lives are their proof.
The miracle of life is that those born with privilege are not all blind, uncaring, but want to reach out, to make a difference and address social injustice. They are not made uncaring by what they have.
I think of my mother sending to her home everything we have spare, raising money for hospital beds, always helping others. Yet, losing one of her sons and having the others go through very difficult times. Being born into opportunity is no guarantee. I think of people who have nothing, inspiring others to rise up to become the most incredible human beings, and who through their God given gifts, set out to change the world. Helen Keller! Amazing.
I think of the time in my life where we my family lost so much, and kindness was shown to us, from people we did and didn’t know. It gave us courage, it gave us fortitude and it allowed us to bounce back.
May the miracle of understanding and motivation come to all of us privileged to have opportunity and freedom to make the most of that freedom not only for our own benefit for that of others. This week I’ll be thinking about the role of the artist and beauty to play a role in the building of miracles and thinking about some organisations making a difference to many in need of a helping hand to find their opportunity and make the most of their gifts.
Have you been able to make the most of what you have for others as well as your own family, how has this made you feel?
Would love to hear from readers.