Thursday, July 27, 2006


I was thinking today about how our lives are so influenced by the circumstance of our birth. I was born an only child into an upper-middle class family in a place that has never known war during my lifetime. I found myself postulating about my fate had my birth been as a girl in any number of other places:

– The child of an African-American single mother in NE Washington, DC.
– The first child in a family in mainland China.
– The 10th child in a family in rural Mexico.
– A child born on a kibbutz in Israel, where communal living was practiced and children lived apart from their parents.
– A child born in a Palestinian refugee camp.
– A child of an Islamic fundamentalist family in Kabul.
– A child born to a mother with AIDS in an area of Africa hard-hit by drought.
– A child born in a concentration camp.

If I even survived to adulthood, my life would be quite different undoubtedly in any of these other birthing circumstances.

As I look at the war-torn Middle East, the drought-ravaged areas of Africa, the parts of the US where racial discrimination still flourishes, I count myself lucky to be so unscathed. I can sympathize with victims of war, famine, and discrimination, but I have no first-hand knowledge of what it is like to live under these conditions day in and day out with no possible remedy.

I am feeling completely powerless to change the world, but I pray for people who suffer in any of these situations. I will continue to wonder why I am so lucky...


Blogger Kristin said...

I've often thought that I am where I am due, in large part, to the accident of birth.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Exactly. But what a fortunate accident for both of us.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Exactly. But what a fortunate accident for both of us.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Being white, well educated Americans puts us pretty much at the top of the food chain, but I suspect that in many situations there are advantages we can't imagine since we think in terms of comfort and money rather than in other areas of enrichment. We Americans. living here at the end of this empire are both lucky as hell but also impoverished - spiritually especially - which is why we're such consumers, at least that's one of my theories.

Take good care of yourself this weekend, cut yourself some slack. You're a very good person which is the most important thing.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I was never able to have children. Many times during my life I wondered why such a huge disparity existed in the world. My cousin, who was much younger than me, used abortion as a method of birth control. She got pregnant just looking at a man.

Having a tendency toward fatalism, I give myself solace that somewhere exits a divine plan and there is a higher reason for the disparity.

9:39 AM  

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