I paused in front of a framed picture located beside our front door this morning. It was an image of my late father, his Daschund Collie cross called Lucky, myself, and Holly aged 4. I remember the walk vividly although there was nothing particularly notable about it. The four of us wandered from the bungalow in Winslow down to the old disused railway platform, traversing the wildly over grown line.
Six years on, Dad is gone, as is Lucky. Only two people within the picture frame remain. Old pictures can be haunting, residual moments along a timeline that cannot, will not stop. All we can really do is ebb and flow with it, doing our best to cherish the good moments, hunker down through the bad, and peer over the parapet of our own self obsession to see who else needs help.
What a thing this life is? How precious and unique and all consuming. How it sweeps us from mountainous highs to abyssal lows, often with little or no warning. I'm not convinced there's any one recipe that guarantee's a good life; too many variables. For my part I just try to learn the lessons of my errors, build on the positives, and try to ensure each day contains something enjoyable.
Many people don't have the freedom to do that, or the wealth, or the food, or the habitat. For many life is simply a game of survival, lived out daily in conditions we wouldn't last five minutes in. All a bit unfair really? People like you, like me, having so much. Others with nothing.
Admit it, you wouldn't swap. You might as well look yourself square in the eye and admit that your compassion only stretches so far. We can give money and clothes, sponsor a child or protect a habitat. All noble things, but we both know that when it comes down to it we wouldn't swap our world for theirs.
Selfish? Too Honest? Probably. I'm not good with self deceit; it gets under my skin and makes me feel dirty. In a short while I'm off to work and will spend several hours trying to help people. For the most part I'll enjoy doing this, but you can be sure that many of those with whom I interact lead lives that I wouldn't wish to step into. What I'm trying to do here is acknowledge both my own selfishness and also the reality that there's no level playing field, no unseen jury balancing out the scales. It's just us, alone and unique, and we need to make the best of this.