Both Sided of Humanity
Both Sides of Humanity
A typical spring morning, crisp, cool air. Three girls in the driveway like ducklings in a row, momma behind them in the doorway waving. Three girls anxiously awaiting the arrival of bus 210, lilacs in hand for the driver. They’re so young and pure, free of corruption and clueless of the dangers of each new day. The bus takes them to school, the place they think they go to learn about numbers and curving cursive Y below the line, but today school is a haven. Imagine a seemingly unsteady world crumbling under the pressures of fate’s unsteady hand. Imagine everything you own taken in an instant. And as their mother weakly told the girls of the disaster that day, the girls wondered, was it fate? Was it always going to happen? No. And they wondered what could have happened differently in the past to prevent this tragedy as they solemnly stared at the smoldering ash that was their home this morning. Three girls in the driveway like ducklings in a row, momma beside them- and beside herself, wondering what will happen next.
While the thought of reconstruction brings happiness, they know their house will never be rebuilt. Money is scarce- the miracle ration has been spent on their lives. The family is all okay; no one was home to endure the deadly licks of the fire’s vicious tongue. There are six, and for now they must all live together in one small hotel room. For the three girls, getting along with their step dad would be like a fuzzy white mouse getting along with a starved python. Tension is high for everyone, but they all have their outlets. For the girls it is school. There they thrive in A+ papers, constant praise from teachers, and “BFF” love, and in the room at night there were three in the bed and the little one said, “we made it through another day.”
Winter of 2004, the house is not complete; it’s not a house at all. There are some walls, but numerous holes and open spaces. The baby can’t crawl around because the floor is missing in some places, in others there is floor board…or some kind of board. No carpet. The stairs are slightly safe, enough to get to the top if they go one at the time. The kitchen has an infinite number of open places so the snow comes in sometimes. The floor is too cold to walk on with bare feet, but they have a few pairs of socks. There is no electricity, but they have a generator in the backyard. Gas is expensive though so it is rarely turned on. Their only heat source is a portable kerosene heater and kerosene is expensive too. There’s no running water, but when the generator is on they get about five ice-cold minutes in the shower-sometimes seven or eight depending on how much gas there is to spare. The youngest girl goes outside and sticks her hand deep into the snow. The snowy yard is their refrigerator. When the sun goes down candles are gathered and lit. The girls gather in a circle, pens and paper in hand to do their math homework and write tomorrow’s essay in the company of dancing shadows on the wall. It is cold but they are grateful to have this skeleton house rather than nothing at all.
Friends don’t know about this new way of life, keeping it a secret is no challenge though, because there is no time for friends. School is the only social time available, but that’s okay-it’s easier to keep secrets that way. Days go by, then weeks. Thanksgiving came. Oh were they thankful. Thankful for life, each other, and good health, and thankful that they had sense enough to be thankful. On Christmas Eve the family decorated a small tree cut from the woods out back, knowing nothing would be under it in the morning. Christmas morning arrived and they huddled around the tree. No words came out, but everyone knew what the others were thinking, “Its great to be alive; its great to have a healthy family; what a beautiful Christmas morning it is.” The girls knew their friends were opening presents, but their friends were unlucky because they were not having thoughts of thanks and gratitude flood their heads like the family with the creaky, dark house down the road.
Four years later life is very different from that in the creaky, dark house and still, there are three girls becoming women with a definite past and a bright future. They have seen two very different sides of life, and despite everything they are thankful for what they didn’t have before. Nothing will ever be the same, they will never look at life through the eyes of those three innocent girls that they once were. They, along with everyone else, are a very small part of an impossibly large world. Without the past the girls would not be thankful for every meal put on the table. They would not be thankful for the clothes on their backs. They are humble, and know that no matter what is going wrong, someone out there is always worse off.
Three girls standing together, not in a row but side by side, grown and strong, ready to take on the world. They know what they have, they know that may not have it tomorrow, and that’s okay because nothing can take away their passion for life and their ability to adapt to any situation. When everything is mixed up and life is kept secret from friends and society it’s hard to cope with what others may think or say. The idea of society as a whole is a fallacy. We are all driven to be the same and to conform to the thoughts and ideas of others, but how can we act like a certain person or group of people when they too are acting like someone else? There is no truth in society, yet we all follow the same path to uniformity. To find the truth within yourself is crucial. Staying strong in a faulty situation is to have self awareness and to realize that life- no matter how fancy or dull- is beautiful. No power is so strong that it can ruin someone’s self-image and sense of self worth. Everyone has the power to reach inside themselves and find their inner beauty, their reason for being on this earth. In the words of Emerson from his essay on self reliance, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave the world is a cave full of prisoners who see nothing but what is displayed in front of them. In the words of Plato, “And if they could talk to one another, don’t you think they’d suppose that the names they used applied to the things they see passing before them?” unless the prisoners are led towards the truth they will never fully understand the real world. Three girls standing in a row, each with her own ideas of life’s truths. Each aware that she is responsible for freeing the world’s prisoners. It is their responsibility to show the world what life really is and what goes on behind closed doors. Reflecting on the past, they realize that their history is no different from anyone else’s. Together they became independent, self-reliant individuals. They have strength and passion, a burning fire within them as one, shedding warm light on each that reveals their individuality and what they have chosen to believe. Like the dancing arithmetic shadows on the wall, adversity vanishes leaving hope and certainty to their lives…a warm memory on a cold winter night. Three women who know:
They’ve been up the rocky path and down the gentle slope. They’ve seen both sides of humanity and the miracles of hope. The light keeps glowing on them; and the moon keeps shining bright. As long as nature takes her course, they know they’ll be alright. Life cannot be touched; you can’t hold it in your hands. Its being can’t be dissected although it has the most intricate parts. Life thrives in every human being, entwines itself in every heart. Living with love, and having a passion for life are parts of life’s flawless web of catching you in time. Before your time, between your time, and after your time you’ll know…your life was perfect all along you just didn’t always know were to go, why you went, or how you got there. Following the brightest star, the path of yesterday and tomorrow, let your senseless worries guide you to your destination, wherever that may be. Be happy on the outside, and happier on the in. don’t let others tell you how your life should end and begin. Respect yourself for who you are and love the light that guides you. Cherish every heart that has touched your very soul. Believe you can, and know you can, and you will be led home.