Sometimes I find myself feeling like I really don’t matter; like I’m just a pawn in some cosmic chess game or a puppet with a brain made of cotton wool, whose strings are being pulled by the grand court jester in an attempt not to lose his own head. And, I don’t think I am the only one that feels this way.
I am a firm believer in treating people with kindness because they are fighting a battle I know nothing about. Sometimes I wish I could be afforded the same courtesy though. Just because a person is smiling, it doesn’t mean they’re not doing so simply to hide the tears because they failed at something because life got in the way. It happens. The best laid plans go awry. It is a fact.
As many of you also know I am a firm believer of speaking life. I love this simple illustration of how we should use our words.
With this in mind, a little rant is to follow now.
There is one thing that I have grown to really dislike hearing, and that is, all excuses are equal. It is a subject for further debate, but tonight I want to focus on it, just a bit, because I hear this sentimeny often from various people higher up in the food chain of my life. People who, have done things differently and achieved success that many novels are written about. Don’t get me wrong, I am not begrudging them their enviable lifestyles. They deserve their beautiful homes, cars and the like, but sometimes the attitude preceding this mantra can be rather quite condescending. Sure, they mean well, but you know what’s said about the road to hell being paved with good intentions…
A few scenarios, if you would indulge me, to illustrate where I’m coming from:
Living in a small town as I do, salaries, for the most part are laughable. Really. There are single moms having to support themselves and their child(ren) on sometimes less than R5000 a month. For those of you not familiar with the value of our depreciating currency, that amount is a little over US $310, or just short of €280.
Everyone has dreams that they want to realize. I know this, because I do too (like dancing in the cobblestone streets of Sao Paulo and completing my novel – writing course), but telling a mother who is working two jobs just to put food on the table and keep her kids fed and clothed (often in hand-me-downs from do-gooders), while she herself is grateful for a work-issued uniform because she can’t afford clothes for work that her reason of not having time, (your perceived excuse) to take her kids swimming or out for ice-cream because she has to get ready for the shift at her other job that all excuses are equal is just plain insensitive! She is doing the best she can with the 24 hours allotted to her in her day. Sometimes her not having enough time is just that. A truth that some people just don’t comprehend. Where is the kindness in that attitude of yours?
Telling someone who wants to go to university to study, but can’t because he is caring for his younger siblings because his parents fell victim to violence that all excuses are equal could be perceived that you deem his chosen priorities to be less important than your own. Where is the kindness in that? That young man’s heart is probably breaking because he has had to shelve his dream to step up to the plate he was very likely not ready to handle. You may know something about the path his life has taken, but you don’t know everything about it, like the fact that he found out he too is going to be taken from his family soon because the chemo is not having the desired effect.
In neither of these scenarios posed, was the sentence all excuses are equal true, helpful inspiring, necessary nor kind! In fact, it was the polar opposite! It’s easy to look at people from your ivory tower because your journey has reached (or is well on its way to reaching) its desired destination, while not always wanting to remember (or admit) how yours started. To the people who do, and openly share the hardships, kudos to you!
Many of us, I’m quite certain, would like to simply give our lives the bird, pack it all in and head off to pursue our Wanderlust, but the reality is, that while for a select few, this may be possible, many of the regular Joes are striving to make their families proud and still, in some way, trying to achieve their dreams. You may regard their reasons to be excuses, which is your rightfully entitled opinion, but sometimes your opinions should be kept to yourself. As the old adage says, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Rather have ears that really hear a cry for help or kindness and fill that need; the world has enough know-it-all-critics already…