The last few months of 2011 proved to be reasonably lousy for yours truly, and I have to admit I was glad to see the tail end of it. The weight of doubt and disappointment can be relentless, and learning to be content within my seemingly ceaseless discontent is a continual battle for me.
I recently returned home from a short trip to Vietnam and Cambodia where I was working with a relief organisation. Vietnam is truly magnificent and as the orphanage we were visiting was up in the highlands, we were privileged to some spectacular scenery en route, which was a real treat. With only a few days in Cambodia, we spent most of our time visiting projects in Andong slum. This particular slum reflected some of the harshest living conditions I have seen, as a result of unfair relocation practices. The people that we met were amazing and beautiful, and at one stage I think I had a scrumptious little child hanging of every limb. I followed a sweet young girl along wobbly and unstable planks jig-sawed above the sewer line leading to her house, which was also built on top of the open sewer. I found it incredibly sad, and the image of her running along those rickety planks, with late afternoon sunrays beaming from her, dressed in pearls and lace, is burned into my memory forever.
I am grateful for my family, health, hope, freedom and Purpose. I know that life does not have to be perfect to be extraordinary and I always try to keep that in mind. Although I find it difficult to reconcile so many aspects of this unjust world we live in, a genuine love for doing what I do keeps me going, it is when my heart beats the hardest.
Some time spent in my turtle shell provided sanctuary when I needed to get things in perspective, and give my frame of reference a shake-up. Contemplating the intricacies of life, and my place and responsibility in it, this quote by Mary Oliver has been of significant consideration and somewhat of a personal challenge for me over recent days and months..
“The world calls to each of us to make a serious response. The big question the world throws at you every morning…
‘Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?’ ”