So imagine a day that hasn’t been all that encouraging, where many things haven’t gone that well, and the thing you’re most looking forward to is your bed, or if you’re in the right place, maybe an ice cold beer. Everyone’s been through it many times, and will be there many more times. Everyone reacts differently, but everyone knows the general feeling. You’re stuck in your head, and nothing but your own struggles really seems to matter.
So after one of these type days, I’m biking home to the village where I’m living, really tired and getting pretty annoyed with all generally ignorant things kids and even older people are yelling at me as I bike past by them. And so as my general opinion of village children is getting lower and lower as I travel, it gets me thinking that most villagers, including the amazing welcoming family that I’m living with for a week now, don’t have a very accurate idea of what I’m specifically doing here, and probably never will. Even if I could completely overcome the language barrier to communicate it to them, it probably wouldn’t be within their experience or knowledge to be able to fully understand or relate.
Even though my presence will probably be a time in their lives that they will pointedly remember: The time when the white person working on something to do with water in town was staying with them. They won’t actually have known that much about my purpose for being there, especially anything about any specific difficulties I’m facing at work, or even in Malawi in general. And even though I live with them, I don’t actually have any good idea of what they are going through in their own personal and life struggles.
No single person’s struggles are really more important than any one else’s, and there will eternally be struggles and rough days for everyone, no matter what their situation. But chances are that our own individual struggles will probably be the most important and urgent thing in the world for each one of us in those moments that we’re going through them.
So as I sit here in the village by a warm cheerful fire, looking up at a beautiful sky full of stars, and I write this on my iPhone (doesn’t sound like too much of a struggle eh? lol), Alice (my Malawian village “sister”), is quietly cooking over the fire, hasn’t got a clue of what I’m writing about, and is probably thinking of her own struggles of the day. Struggles that I am probably incapable of totally relating to or understanding.
And so reality check happens: It’s probably best to try to understand her struggles, not just because Alice is actually one of the people my work here is supposed to benefit, But because in any set of situations, it’s a greater thing to keep in greater consideration the situations of others. And this consideration will probably actually result in more success and fulfillment in my own situation.
So until the next time I’m completely focused on my own struggles… thanks for reading.