The other day I was listening to an interview on National Public Radio. The woman who was speaking was a refugee from Yemen who had to flee that country under a hail of bullets, and had lost everything she ever had. She was discussing how hard it had been to get out of the country, and how no one, and I mean no one, wanted to help her.
I sat there for a long time after the interview, trying to imagine what it must be like to be surrounded by people who won’t let you leave a war zone and only want you dead. I tried to picture myself in a situation where everything I had worked for my entire life was taken from me, and there was no positive future on the horizon.
My reality is one in which I’m relatively secure. I don’t fear waking up with a gun pointed at my face. It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of the people that I love will not die violent deaths. And while I’ve had to struggle to get where I am, and have, indeed, suffered more than one setback in my life, I’m fairly certain that an RPG isn’t going to detonate in my living room. I won’t even be racially profiled by my local police force.
I can’t imagine how it must change you to live a reality other than mine. What do you become? How do you see the world? How do you survive? I haven’t done anything to deserve the luxury that I enjoy. And safety is a luxury. I just happened to be born the right color in the right place at the right time.
I am considered part of the majority. But as more of the world is war-torn and suffers from senseless tragedies, I have to wonder if my “norm” isn’t really in the minority, and if, perhaps, the darkness is not advancing. The sad thing is I have no idea what to do about it. But the very, very least I can do is appreciate my good fortune.