A Greater Perspective

–Thinking about internally displaced people or those who go hungry can help us gain perspective on our own lives—Two U.N. reports are worth noting. The first tells us that one sixth of the world now goes hungry, more than a billion people. The second draws our attention that there were 16 million refugees and 26 million internally displaced people uprooted by conflicts such as those in Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Somalia, a total number which is up from the previous year. In addition the displacements are being protracted and people can’t go home or can’t go back for longer periods of time. When one considers that these numbers translate into people, into families, into individual lives including children, those who are ill or elderly, the impact acquires a dimension of realism. It means people who are homeless, under threat of the elements, the future, political forces, people who undergo a number of deprivations, indignities, humiliations, whose lives are in perpetual danger, who have no access to basic necessities let alone simple pleasures. That realism can in turn be applied to our own lives. It’s not a matter of being Pollyana, nor even an exercise in gratitude. It is a means to put our lives into greater perspective and perhaps arrive at better conclusions about our problems. These people have real hardships. Do we? And if we don’t what does that say about us?