We: Whoever identifies with the concept
There seems to be this real sense of empathy we lose when we prosper-a deep sense of understanding the struggles people who are not as blessed as we are, go through; and thus are not as motivated as we are. Even those who once had these desert-dark-nights-of-the-soul experiences seem to easily forget.
We keep a certain calibre of friends-friends of a certain standard because we do not want to be reminded of our past, as we never want to return to what once was.
“Show me your friend and I will show you your character.” We easily forget the fortunate situation which brought us where we are.
God knows there are numerous people out there, who because of whatever reason, whether financial or otherwise; do not have the sky as their limit.
In my nothingness I found everything. No human to please, no standard to live up to. Understanding that it is by grace that I was able to wake up this morning to write, pray, do my Pilates, shower, eat, and get out of the house on time to make my day worthwhile.
A friend from the Caribbean once told me, ‘Jennifer, if I had my family here with me I will take some of the risky decisions you have taken’. This was after I had given her a long advice on what work she could do, with a degree as hers and certain lifestyle choices.I am so blessed. My biggest blessing being my family, because God have I taken some risky decisions!
Sometimes we fail to realize majority of the human race are trying; making the best out of the situation they find themselves in.
We all have different backgrounds, different life experiences and different life expectancies. We are completely exposed to different scenarios. We filter our experiences in different ways. With our different brains, our different genetic makeup and different learning styles. No two human beings are the same or will ever be the same no matter how similar or how much we try to be similar. We can try to assimilate to abide by the rules to keep the peace. By not staying true to ourselves and still abiding by the common law for the peace, for the good of our community and society do we not harm ourselves? Understanding the complexity of our ever changing selves equips us with the peace and kindness to take people as they come. By denying our humanity, we fail to accept others as they are.
God has a sense of humour!
I remember when I was younger, I used to say ‘I don’t do old people’; Lol the stupidity! I thought out of all the jobs out there, I just could not see myself working in a residential centre which houses and cares for people with special needs and the aged.
After working in a bar and completely hating it despite the tips, the discounted drinks and food, I found myself applying for a part-time job as a Carer; and the rest they say is history. Four years later, I totally do old people. That, and being a special needs teaching assistant have been my means of income throughout university. Working with the old and less-abled in conventional terms, have been one of the most fulfilling experiences. The fragility of humanity drawn so close. The numerous stories about how lives were crashed so suddenly. An old lady who was once a fitness instructor and had climbed all the highest peaks in the world, dropping a heater on her feet during a house-move at the age of fifty; a farmer, a son of a Lord with a twenty- six year old wife and two twin girls, getting a stroke at the age of thirty; a sixty-year old man who had lost his wife, and only had one son in the States, waking up one morning and not being able to physically get out of bed. Spending time with these, made the impermanence of lifestyles conspicuous. The intrinsic need for us to be loved and cared for.
I just needed to surrender myself to this that I blocked myself to. By blocking myself to the old and less-abled which is a part and parcel of every life story I was denying my humanity. I was denying myself, limiting myself. Not surrendering myself to my humanity.
“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)
Learning to take people as they come is not an easy task. Appreciating we are all on different life journeys, at different stages can be challenging. We have every right to stimulate others with our life styles, inspire and advise. It is a grave sin to not share one’s experiences and prevent the atrocities of history, be it at a micro individual experience or a macro society experience, from repeating itself. But the challenge being to concentrate our energies in bettering ourselves and appreciate all of humankind. Helping and realizing that people are indeed trying and that life is too delicate and transient to rise ourselves on a pedestal and forget our humanity.
That, it is all a blessing; the good and the bad. It is by grace we do what we do.