Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Rush Of Blood To The Head??

There are some moments when epiphanies wash over me like the rough tide, cold and striking , awakening my mind and heart, shaking me out of my indifference, making me aware how utterly meaningless my life actually is, how pointless every act thus far has been, how I have not very much direcion, nor very much perspective and most importantly, I have not very much human empathy.

Does it not exist at all? Or am I unconscious - wilfully , it might seem , drenched in apathy? From the moment I wake , right through obsessing about my hair, wondering how to get slimmer and when I can afford to buy an Ipod , I realise there is no sense of purpose in my life. What are all these hours that I live? To what end? Why do I breathe? Is every act of mine just an act of sustenance - a means to continue living? Finish the next assignment to make a decent grade, to get a decent degree, to get a decent job, to get a decent husband, raise decent kids and have a decent life??

In the midst of my mundane, self absorbed life , every now and then , I chance upon an intervention. A voice, a thought, a book, a song,a programme on t.v perhaps- that stops me in my tracks and arrests the inevitable avalanche of one inane moment of my life tumbling into the next. I stop, to feel - a real love ,a sense of empathy, a need to live the compassion that is neatly tucked away to convenience my daily existence. I feel an outpouring of emotion - Of much gratitude and great regret. Gratitude for a life free of torment, hatred , oppression, violence and Regret over millions of precious moments squandered away carelessly. Moments that could have been spent in making a contribution. A contribution to what? Or to who? A contribution to something I believe in.

It is in these moments that my conscience is challenged to tell me something more meaningful. Something more meaningful than disapproving of my quick temper or reminding me that I shouldn't be quite as judgemental as I can be sometimes. It is in these moments that my conscience grieves at it's own silence and promises never to allow itself to be suppressed.

My life has been scattered with these moments. True, they are few and far between, but I realise that they are what have shaped me, if I can claim any shape at all. It is in these moments, I realise I just want to help. Someone. Anyone. I want to forget myself , my insignificant little worries and focus on something that is much bigger than me.

I am an ordinary human being - full of inadequacies and insecurities but in these moments I truly forget about that. I am aflame. I really do feel that I'd like to spend my life doing something worthwhile. I don't know what exactly.. Help raise money? Teach poor kids? Run down the street to the old man sitting under the hot sun and give him whatever money I have?

I'm not so naive as to believe myself capable of anything monumental. At the same time, I know that all human beings are born with great reserves in them - reserves of Goodness that they might be completely unaware of. I recognize a little of that in myself in these moments.

Thus far, I have failed to grab on to these fleeting revelations , I've let it drift past me each time, not doing very much about it. But, something has struck a chord in me today that resonates louder than ever before. I was reminded of a human tragedy so atrocious, a blot on the page of history so large and so damning, that it will never be forgotten. It should never be forgotten. As it was to me today, it stands a reminder of how much humanity is in dire need of a collective willingness to stand up against oppression and injustice.

Can I actually do something? What do I do? Can I weave this temporary cognizance of human suffering into the thread of my life and in the process make my own protest against injustice however small , significant nonetheless?

I have not figured it out yet. I'm still processing all of these thoughts running unrestrained in my brain. I am confused. I am disturbed. I am ashamed for my fellow human beings - ashamed at the savagery we are capable of. But most of all, I'm determined. I'm determined to find my place in this world - find a way of truly contributing.

Perhaps I am naive for believing that we can instill in ourselves a sense of social conscience - for believing that all of us ordinary folk can rise above the limitations we have set for ourselves, in our mind, and believe ourselves capable of selfless acts, acts with no vested interest , involving lives that maybe in no way connected to our own, just because it involves a principle, a value, that we believe in.

It is at this point in the chain of my thought that I am reminded of the poem that my mother has pinned up in her office :

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

--- Pastor Martin Niemöller

I read it now and my determination is renewed. To find my place, make my contribution.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I miss you daddy.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. And today, the grief is overwhelming.