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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yesterday's Child: A Few Afterthoughts

Since my last entry where I shared a few thoughts following an encounter with whom I called yesterday’s child, I find that there are a lot of emotions and feelings that I still need to process. I admit, I’m still unsure from where in my heart did these feelings flow. 
On one hand, this child took me back to my own childhood. Perhaps I was nostalgic as I was reminded of a past that I could never recapture. To realise how foolish it was for me,at the time, to become a grown up. To become an adult would mean, I believed, being able to live my life as I pleased. How foolish I was for wanting to grow up so soon and miss out on that precious time that childhood is.
I also felt a certain fear that I may never become a father. Or, if I did, I wouldn’t be able to do all the things fathers do with their children. I am not particularly keen on sports either - which would be an issue if I had a boy or girl who liked sports. As yesterday’s child did. I know that there are things which, I hope, I would be able to impart on my children. But, still, there’s still that lingering thought that I would never live to an ideal.
On the other hand, in retrospect, these thoughts are just thoughts and don’t have any real basis. Rather, they may help me live better today. For, I may not be able to recapture my childhood but I can commit myself to cherish the present and try to live the now to the full. The present moment remains the only one we can be in and the only time we have a choice. In this sense, my concerns for the future are, in a way, only the cause of unnecessary pain. For, I should accept whatever life offers and do my best. For whether I have a child or not, whether s/he will accept me and so on remain questions that can’t be answered or will never be answered at all.
This life of mine, I realise, is the only one I’m sure of. It’s precious because, I know, all lives will end. I can’t live forever. And, as I remember what yesterday’s child taught me, it’s important for us to reach out to those around us and to every other person living in this world. I have failed in this and still fail. But I know that I need to be compassionate to others. Not just for the sake of others but for my own sake.
I thank all those who told me that they liked reading my last entry on yesterday’s child. I admit, I was flattered. But, later, I felt a certain feeling of guilt. Had I used the child in my account for my own ends? In a way, I did. I did like many others who help others for the sole reason to receive praise. I might have fallen to an arrogance of those who help others only to be praised and photographed. People, I’ve met myself, who make a living exploiting those who are going through injustice and inequalities to appear as saviours - when they’re in fact, in some way, abusing the dignity of others for personal gain.
I hope, at least, that my post didn’t go so far. But, then again, I am aware that - without knowing or wanting - we may be doing the same thing. We may be inflicting needless suffering on those who are victims of injustice and inequality. We may waste food and water capriciously when people in some parts of the world are dying of hunger or thirst. We may take our homes for granted, when there are millions of people homeless or living in poor housing conditions. We may take our loved ones for granted, when there are people out there who have just lost their loved ones because of war or natural disasters.
But, of course, we are helpless. We can’t save the whole world. I feel bad because I know that I may never meet yesterday’s child again. Nor do I know if I can help in any way if I did meet this child. Yet, I feel a kind of guilt for not being able to do more. Yet, I have to be realistic and focus on what I can achieve today. To return to the beginning of this entry, it’s important for me to focus on the present. This doesn’t mean that I ignore the future and fail to plan ahead. But, inasmuch as it’s wise to set out plans for the future, the present is the one moment we have that is truly guaranteed. 
So, how can I help? How can you help? I feel that even if I may be unable to help yesterday’s child, there are a lot of people I meet on an everyday basis - some I know, others not. It’s there that I can make a difference. For one may aspire to go abroad to help others experiencing poverty and all that which is good. But, on the other hand,one can also do a lot here where you live. You can change things in the way you relate to the others around you. You can practice compassion today. You can take the time to understand others here. You can relate to others as equals now.
The only thing I can offer you here are  my words. I know that what I have written might not make any difference in your life or the life of others. I don’t expect it too. But all I hope is that somewhere, someone will stop and reflect on what I wrote. For life passes quickly and we may miss to appreciate the moment we’re given. A moment that, like our childhood, is lost forever.

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