A pause for thought


So, here I am. It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m sat at my laptop with a very nice glass of red. We’ve had a lovely day with my brother and his family, and now it’s all quiet and I’m just gathering myself before powering down for Christmas, as it were. The children are all asleep (or at least in bed), the presents are wrapped, the tree is dressed and gorgeous (and so am I 😉 (I wish!)), the fire is burning, even the veg and associated bits and bobs are all good to go tomorrow. All we need to do on Christmas day is to wake up, eat and open presents.

I feel incredibly lucky.

I *am* incredibly lucky. I was lucky enough to be born into a culture and country where there is no significant physiological threat to my wellbeing – I have never known what it’s like to be homeless, hungry or abused. I was lucky enough to get a good education and lucky enough to be able to apply that education in the field(s) of my choice in a culture and country where there is no social threat to my existence – I am granted liberty, I am enfranchised, and I have the guarantee of equal treatment under the law, and I have only ever been unemployed out of choice, and the only manual/menial work I have ever done has been temporary and of short duration. I am lucky because I have all my family around me, and barring the odd squabble and some bickering, we all get on and we all love and support each other.

It has not been easy – t’o-m and I have worked damned hard for what we have, we weren’t born into privelege and neither of us have university degrees, but the dice have always fallen our way. We’ve had our share of sorrow along the way – we’ve had to deal with suicide, miscarriage and bereavement – but we’ve survived and we’ve come through it.

And sitting here, feeling so lucky, so priveleged, and just so thankful for everything I have, I can’t help but think of those who are less fortunate than I. I read a story yesterday in the Kenyon Review about Afghanistan, and that made me mindful of both the soldiers serving out there, the civilian population caught in the middle of it all, and the families of those soldiers facing Christmas without their loved ones. I have been revising an article about the Congo I started over a month ago, and that has made me mindful of all the people in Africa who have no home, no security, no food, no shelter, who are living in fear and poverty. And Rumpus was talking about Santa, and who he was and why he only visited children (and not grown ups), and so (quick thinkingly) I told him that in the beginning Santa only visited orphan children who had no  mummies and daddies to look after them, and then decided that all good children deserved gifts at Christmas – and that made me mindful of all the children in this country (and elsewhere) who will not get presents this year, or who will not find themselves at the centre of a loving and secure household. And the families affected by the credit crunch who face losing just about everything  through no fault of their own.

And there, but the grace of god, go I. It is nothing more than luck that I am here, sitting in the comfort of my home, where I can be myself and be happy, and that I am not facing the terrors of an uncertain future and wondering how I will feed my children tomorrow, wondering where they will sleep, and wondering how I will protect them from the danger all around.

I am lucky, and I am grateful for it. And so I will have a lovely day tomorrow, and enjoy the time with my children and my family.

How do you feel?

Happy Christmas. I hope you all have a wonderful day.


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