Posted by: Tricia | Monday, July 30, 2007

Burden? What burden?

The RK just got to bed. After 11:00. But for a pretty good reason, I think. The Diary of Anne Frank came on Turner Classic Movies, and I was suprised when he actually showed interest in watching it with me.

My first year experiencing public school, the seventh grade, we were assigned to read Anne Frank’s diary. And I remember watching the movie over a period of days in English class, as well. And it affected me down the core of my soul. I just couldn’t fathom going through what this young girl, not much older than I was, got through that time she wrote her diary.

To live in America is to be blessed. No one alive today has borne witness to war fought on our homeland. We are indeed quite priveledged. To live anywhere in Europe during World War II meant to live life day to day in fear. Terror. And today, the fear is torturing hearts of those in the Middle East.

But never here. We are so blessed.

Why? Why are we so lucky? What did we do to deserve living our lives in such peace and calm? And how has it become so easy to take for granted?

I was born during a war fought thousands of miles away. I graduated high school during a war being fought thousands of miles away. And as I type this, part II of this previous war I just mentioned is being fought.

And the only direct affect it has on my day to day life is when I watch the news or read about the latest car bombs, or suicide bombers, or the updated tally of American servicemen killed. But the end credits roll, I fold up the newspaper, I close my laptop, and my mind effortlessly moves on to other things…what, out of the relative multitude of choices I have sitting in my pantry or my freezer (which consistently has power, by the way) shall I fix for dinner? Why won’t my grass turn green? Uh oh…the IB’s into the cat food again. Oh no, the gas prices are pushing $3/gallon again.

Please.

Why am I so lucky to live such a life, and millions of my fellow members of the human race aren’t? Is it really just luck of the draw? I came into existence in the USA, while some other 34-year-old woman who is mourning the loss of her innocent children, or her husband, or is now learning to do life with a missing appendage…is doing so just because she happened to come into existence in Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Or Darfur?

And how is it that we have become so complacent?

None of us deserve the charmed lives we lead. It all comes down to luck of location.

I have a bit of a weird confession to make. Bear with me….

I’m so glad I experienced 9/11. I’m not glad it happened, but I’m glad to have witnessed it. My generation was the epitome of complacency and entitlement before that day. We had lived in relative luxury compared to the majority of the rest of the world. And that day was our wake-up call. It woke us all up, but only briefly, I think. Just a mere six years after the fact, we’ve already fallen right back into the sleep of entitlement again. Oh, how this country is divided over the war in Iraq. And sadly, the division is way far from being down the middle…in the wrong direction.

And really…why was it so shocking and horrifying to us? I mean, yeah, it’s horrible that we lost almost 3000 people that day, but in so many other locations on this earth, that’s everyday. How is that we don’t give these fellow humans a few moments of our attention, but when it happens to us, we get mad? Why aren’t we getting mad for them? When it comes down to it, we’re no better than they are. We have two arms and two legs just like they do. We have hearts…that break. So do they. We laugh, we cry. They do as well. Who’s getting mad for their horrific and senseless deaths?

Here’s what I think: Politics aside, if there’s anything we can do in our power, or anything we can share with our brothers and sisters in countries that don’t have the rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, it’s our duty to do whatever we can to help them acquire such lives of their own. How in the world can these noisy people get away with trying to convince anyone who will listen that it’s OK to stand by and let fellow humans suffer through such horrific and unimaginable persecution? Our sons and daughters are dying for a lost cause…well, so are Iraqi sons and daughters…civilians. They’re just innocent victims of that location curse. And we should just let it happen? God bless those servicemen who are risking their lives, and sadly, giving their lives as well, to try to create a way of life in Iraq that they have already been blessed with. They have willingly decided to give up that way of life here in the United States to go fight for this. They are indeed heroes.

I want to be a hero as well. Not one that is cheered and applauded…but one who quietly makes a difference. I’ve done nothing to deserve this life of luxury I lead. And all those in this world who are living in abject poverty and political persecution have done nothing to deserve their way of life, either. I feel overwhelmed thinking about how I could contribute, but I know that God will lead me. And I hope I feel led into more than just donating money. While necessary, and a huge sacrifice in its own right, giving money is still so detached and….well, easy. I mean really…what am I really gaining from sitting on my comfy couch with a nice cold drink by my side as I sign a check? What am I really giving of myself when I make the stroll down to the mailbox and raise the little flag? I want to bear first-hand witness to change that I helped create. And for me, giving money just won’t cut it.

It is such a shame that Anne Frank couldn’t live to see the impact that her little red-checked diary made on the entire world. But then again, would it have been such an impact if she had survived the concentration camp? Whatever the case, it’s comforting to know that what appear to be such senseless deaths can inspire and create movements of good in their wake. As long as those of us left behind to witness it don’t harden ourselves to it.

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Responses

  1. That’s some good writing, good thinking. I’ve been to war, Vietnam, I grew up military around the world and saw folks living in holes in the ground and street urchins shoot a bird with a BB gun and eat it raw. I think every American should go overseas, or south America for that matter, to see how good we got it. When I was homeless, wandering lost after waking from the coma, carrying all I owned in a garbage bag, I lived in luxury compared to many in other parts of the world. It gave me a new perspective and appreciation for the little things we take for granted.

  2. Amen, sister, sing it.


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