Friday, May 16, 2008

Too much navel-gazing

We are so wrapped up in our world, in our lives and sometimes we lose perspective of what else is out there, that life, and the world, is far larger than us and the spheres we live in.

Just the other day I was out at the bus-stop waiting for my bus. It was not a special day, but it was a beautiful one. It was late afternoon. The sky was so blue, the trees looked beautiful and I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. I turned my face up and breathed in deeply. I thought - this moment is perfect. Lovely. I feel so good. Life, indeed, was good.

And then it hit me.

Right then, several thousand miles away, even as my face was turned up to the sun, there was a mother wailing for her child, tears streaming, frantically scrabbling immovable concrete slabs with her bare hands. In a soggy padi field in the Irrawaddy delta, children with huge eyes and bloated bellies stand silently and wait patiently for aid that might never come. In a crowded street in Jaipur India, a bicycle filled with a homemade bomb has exploded and blood is now splattered everywhere. In an alleyway in a city somewhere in the developed world, someone is lying on cardboard and hoping the night would not be too cold.

My life is tiny compared to that.

My woes, no matter how big they seem to me, now seem miniscule compared to picture after picture coming out of China now - pictures of death, destruction, devastation, chaos and pain. And in Myanmar? Despite the lack of publicity, I'm sure there is a great deal of agony on the ground. People have lost their homes, food is scarce, clean water is non-existent and disease is rife.

There are other bigger problems out there. Its all about perspective. I got to shift mine.

As all these thoughts ran through my head, I took a deeper breath of the sunshine and sent it with love and feeling to all the devastated mothers there in China and in Myanmar. Its not much but at that moment, it was all I could do. I prayed that better days would find them soon, that they may one day stand out in the sunshine as I was doing then, and share the same sense of well-being. Right then, I lived the meaning of the phrase: our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Mine were surely with them that afternoon even though I stood more than half a continent away.

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