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Two worlds seemed to exist in this one moment of time

LAOS | Thursday, 6 May 2010 | Views [348]

As our bus climbed in elevation up the un-paved mountain road we passed villages of bamboo and grass-thatched huts on wooden stilts.  There were no schools, restaurants, shops or electricity in these villages.

The red hot pink sun began to sink below the mountains and I hung onto dusk for the lives of these people from outside the window fascinate me, inspire me and really make me think.

"Blessed are the poor" are the words of Jesus and this is what I see.

I ache for their kind of love and closeness, the simplicity of their lives and how people seems to be all that really matter to them.

As the day grew dark the head lights from our bus shone on these small dark mountain villages.  We seemed out of place here, big and loud on this quiet mountain road.

I saw a few candles flickering from inside the homes and one small fire on the ground, with people gathered around it sitting in the dirt.

I looked around our bus and saw the many Westerners on it watching movies on their lap tops, playing games on their hand-held systems and listening to music on their IPODs.

Two worlds seemed to exist in this one moment of time.  Two parallel worlds-far away from one another but sharing this space and time for only but a moment.

In between these villages lied nothing but the earth-the dirt, the trees, the mountains.  And the earth was literally on fire-dry, cracked and burning-waiting for the monsoon rains.

Perhaps it was the state of the land that made me realize that although these peoples lives seem simple-natural-beautiful-connected-and lived in love their realities are much harsher.

Within the stories of their lives lie hardship-poverty, sickness, hunger, exhaustion, heat with little relief, death.

I've seen it on the faces of the old-in the lines on their skin that have seemed to left  permanent impression of suffering.

I've seen it in their eyes, but the privileges I've been given throughout life keep me from understanding the deepness that calls to me, the sadness that grabs me.

So I often walk away or offer a smile which more often humbles me.  I can almost hear the women saying to me- you're so young, so naive, you have no idea what it's like to be me.  And I don't.

As much I want to erase these barriers of separation I can't.  I can't take away her experiences and I most likely will never experience them myself simply because of where and when I was born.

Life may seem unfair and it may be.  But we are each given the gift of life itself.  Some of us may have more things working for or against us.  But we all have the power to make a choice.  A choice of how we're going to react against the goods and evils of life.  My father has taught me this and I will carry his simple, but powerful words with me forever. "Happiness is a choice and when we wake up each day we get to choose weather or not we want to be happy today."  To me it seems that many of these people have found this little secret and although hot, hungry, tired or sick they choose to be happy.

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