I’m “reading” (thanks to Audible, I’m actually listening during my 2 hour per day commute) a book that was recommended to me (The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah). It takes place during World War II in France. It is the story of a family during the War and how their lives changed. Even though I’m not yet done, it is really having an impact on me. It brings to light how truly easy my life has been.
Early in my life, we lived in “the projects.” But we had electricity, food, and family. We didn’t have to worry about standing in lines for what bits of food were rationed out or sharing our home with armed forces. Roasted pigeon? Seriously?
As I was growing up, I had a curfew, but the entire town did not have a curfew that they must abide by or suffer severe consequences–including death–for missing curfew!
My whole life, I could talk to anyone I wanted to or play with children of any religion or color. I did not have to wear something signifying that I was “different” than someone else, I did not get my name on a list of people of a certain religion, and I did not get rounded up onto buses of people on that list to be transported to camps away from friends and family. The idea that that kind of thing actually happened makes me really sad.
I recently was able to visit the Civil Rights Museum in Nashville at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. Walking through the museum, looking at the persecution that people of color were forced to put up with and thinking about the stories that my parents told me also makes me sad. It makes me sad that so much of this actually happened during my lifetime. I wasn’t really old enough to know what it was about, but I was alive. So, obviously, while it is “history,” it is not history that is hundreds of years old.
Both of these things make me grateful that those people made such tremendous sacrifices so I could live my charmed life. I think I’m a strong person, but I don’t think I’m strong enough to do some of the things they were forced to do. I am not sure they pictured themselves as strong, they were just doing what they had to do to make it day-to-day. The worst I have to do to make it day-to-day is my daily commute to a fabulous job of my own choosing which requires that I drive through Phoenix rush hour traffic–in my fairly new car, with air conditioning, gasoline I can buy on just about every street corner, listening to my book, a podcast, or music that no one is editing or censoring, with hundreds of others doing the same. I have, indeed, lived a very charmed life.