I have grown so used to having whatever I wanted, desired or needed at my arm's reach. I am surrounded by appliances, telephones, computers and vehicles that make my life all the more easy. I am never left wanting since I can afford all the necessities and some. Every morning, I brush my teeth and drink water never wondering what it would be like without faucets or clean water. Not everyday do I think about the people collecting the garbage that I leave outside my gate; as it conveniently disappears the next morning. I step into my parked car and drive to wherever I needed to go without a second thought of those who need to power their legs to get to places or share one vehicle with 20 or 30 others. I enter a store and find all sorts of goodies to buy without wondering which hand picked or made them. I work at a school where its students are from privileged families not having to be reminded of tattered clothes, battered feet and shattered dreams.
And yet, I was never sheltered as a child and did not live in total darkness. I was always reminded that I was lucky to have been born into a family that is well educated and affluent as there were so many children who were less fortunate. Despite that, it is not something I think of everyday as life is a whirlwind that takes over my thoughts.
OR maybe I just don't because it make me feel a little guilty or ashamed that I have so much and still find something to be grumpy about, and they have so little and still manage to smile every day.
I was reminded of the harshness of life on a trip that I went on with my sister this month. It was an eye-opening bonding experience through parts of Sri Lanka and India. We found the people to be pleasant and friendly despite what I would call a "tough" life. To them, their lifestyle might not be tough and they are probably thankful that they are better off than many of the other people they are surrounded by. To me, however, it opened my eyes to the wonderful life that my children and I lead and how "sheltered" we are from the harshness of their lives.
Throughout the journey, I silently thanked the universe and my lucky stars for every little blessing I had in life. With every step I took through the streets of India, I thought of the millions of people who walked the same path barefoot and hungry. With every purchase I made, I wondered if the Indian Rupees I used might have alleviated a nagging need a family there had.
India, and its people, have taught me that:
- I am blessed with a healthy family and a roof above my head and therefore should smile more often
- my past experiences should never overshadow my future but teach me lessons
- unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness are non-discriminatory
- I should welcome everyone into my life as I will learn something valuable
- every moment in life counts as I might never regain it
- I should appreciate the little things as they are just as important as the big ones
- I must never take for granted the unskilled hands that sustain me
- to never be timorous or intimidated by people who are different in any way
Thank you India!