I read Jennie Rigg's blog post today with a sense of disquiet. Not, as one might think, with a sense of disbelief, or disgust, or disappointment, but disquiet. It does bother me somewhat when people I like are disturbed to the point when they take actions which, in my mind, are injurious to themselves and/or others, or are made unhappy by the actions of others or even sheer randomness. Sometimes I note from their Twitter feeds, or from third parties, that life is dealing out lemons today.
I find myself thinking, "there, but for the grace of God, go I", but seldom do I take the next step of reflecting upon that. So, by way of making amends, perhaps I should tempt fate by doing just that.
I am, in many ways, extraordinary in my ordinariness. I had an uneventful childhood, raised by two people who cared for me, in a community where I felt safe, and schooled by people who took sufficient interest in me as an individual to want to encourage me to explore the possibilities open to me.
I never experienced poverty or suffering in the way that, as it turned out, so many other people have done, never had people tell me that I couldn't do things, never been treated as a persecuted minority, never felt that I have to justify my existence. Clearly, being a mixed-race, middle-class male comes with certain advantages. And to the extent that I am in a minority, it is one that goes almost entirely unnoticed, even if it is something that I am inordinately proud of.
I have had opportunities denied to many, and even taken some of them, and when bad things have happened, I have been blessed by friends and family who generously given their love and time to support me. And I am married to someone who I love and, I think, loves me back.
In short, the fates have been generous thus far, a view reinforced by the dilemmas faced by my friends and associates on a day by day basis. I can only admire the grace and good humour with which they face them.
And so I say to Jennie, and to so many others, I am proud and honoured to be your friend, and I take strength and solace from your bravery and honesty.
And, in turn, I give thanks for the good fortune that I have had over nearly half a century, and promise not to take it for granted quite so much in future...
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