What’s your favourite food to eat?
Your ‘go-to’, delectable, edible treat?
Salty or savoury?
Hot, cold or sweet?
Made by your hands?
Sold at shops down the street?
What flavour sensation does your tongue ache to greet?
What’s your favourite thing to do?
When there’s time to do something you really want to?
Alone or in twos?
A ‘one-off’ or series
Of things just for you?
What wonderful pass-times would you pursue?
And what would you do if life wasn’t that fun
And the things you could do were forever outdone
By those fortunates living in World Number One
Whose blithe daily lives left you jealous and stunned
Of their massive abundance and blessings in tonnes
That they don’t even notice – it leaves you undone
Would you run?
|“These are a few of my favourite things”|
Here I sit, on my modern laptop, with super-fast broadband connection, ensconced in my comfy sofa in my first-floor flat. I’m wearing comfy pyjamas and enjoyed a warm shower earlier. My friend came for dinner and we ate a delicious meal of homemade chilli and potato wedges, followed by lemon cake, having set up my fish tank with all it’s new equipment and accessories. Later I drove him home in my car, with a tank of petrol I filled up earlier this week from a local garage. If I think around the flat, I can imagine the cupboards in the kitchen, bursting with food. The machines I have to aid daily life; washing machine, fridge-freezer, dishwasher. The drawers and wardrobes in the bedroom, full of clothes and beautiful shoes. The airing cupboard full of fresh laundry.
Do I deserve it?
Think about that one carefully.
Some of the money that paid for these things was from gifts given to Husby and I by people who love and care for us.
Some of the money that paid for these things was earned through my own hard work.
Some of the money that paid for these things was given by the government, through the welfare system, according to their assessment of Husby’s condition.
All of that money at some point was earned by someone, somewhere, through their efforts, in a country with strict rules about minimum wage and taxes which go to support those who can’t work.
And at whatever point it occurred, that money passed into our hands and was left with Husby and I to decide how we’d spend it.
But do we deserve it?
I am fortunate enough to live in a thriving (no, really) first-world country which holds many opportunities for those wanting to earn a living. There are jobs to be had, a welfare system for those who are unable to work, a bajillion shops to spend money in, more food wasted from their shelves each day than a considerable number of sticks could be shaken at…and I take advantage of all of this, as much as I can, because why not?
My life is easy, full of luxuries, full of Things. Simple things like a vase to hold the flowers I was given. Custom-made bookshelves to hold my hundreds of books. A gorgeous new cabinet (recycled) to hold my fish tank. A balcony overlooking the park.
But I’ve fallen into a trap, and thereby a quandry, of taking these things for granted.
Because I don’t deserve them, friends.
They are there, piling up on my doorstep through a happy accident of birth, because if being born in a first-world country rendered me worthy of them, then surely the inverse is true, and a person born in a poor, third-world country does not deserve any of those things…because I have done nothing in or of my own merit to qualify for them.
And so I know I am living a lie.
Not a small, white lie, but a great, big, dirty, obfuscating one.
I am living, ensconced, with all these Things, this Stuff, this Excess, this Abundance, and I keep gathering more unto myself, as though by feathering my nest I will seem impressive enough to merit my hoard. And I tell myself I own it – it is mine.
But it is not.
Because it’s all down to that accident of where and to whom I was born.
And that renders me unworthy, ungrateful, and selfish. And humbled.
Because that person who was born by the same measure of accident to a Life Without, to Less Than, to looking on as others Have and Have and Have – if we’re looking at merit – deserves these good things every bit as much as I do.
And here I sit, wanting to show you pictures of my new fish tank, taken on my camera, uploaded to my computer, processed as I dunked biscuits in a hot cup of tea in a large mug, suddenly confronted with the enormity of my excesses. Not sharing.
And I’m ashamed of myself.
|…but I still want to show you my fish tank, which makes it worse, somehow.|