Sunday, 8 February 2015

Contrasts And Comparisons

I have to remind myself periodically that it's all about perspective. My quality of life depends largely on how I view my life. I live in a society and community that supports me, offers me immense benefits, allows me to live as full a life as possible. For a great many people be they here at home or far away, my life would seem wonderful, even with ALS.

Two events today give a great example of this. My daughter Kate came to visit me this morning, or rather for lunch. Afterwards I picked up Catherine and we went to Home Depot and then to Rona to get a garage door opener to replace the one I accidentally tossed in the garbage the other day while trying to shove a box out the front window of my truck. While we were at Home Depot, I took a moment to look at the kitchen ranges, looking for one with knobs on the front.

I want a stove with knobs on the front. I've wanted one ever since I went into the wheelchair. To reach the knobs on my existing range, I have to reach across the stove, often across hot burners with pots in the way. The are expensive, much more expensive than the basic stove I have today. I am not sure how I am going to pay for it, nor if I can actually afford it at all. It's going to cost somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000. On the other hand, the front knob stove will allow me to cook for longer, to be independent for longer.

After shopping a bit and eventually finding the garage door opener, Catherine and I went to a vigil for the 43 students murdered in Mexico recently. This was no dirge, nor in any way funereal in nature. It was a lively event in a loca Mexican cantina, Destino. Amnesty International sponsored the event. Voices of Mexicans living in Canada and other concerned Canadian's were raised to speak out in protest against not only this killing, but the regime of corruption which plagues Mexico these days.

It struck me, as I drove home, that here were not just 43, but thousands of people in a nation where masses of Canadians visit daily, being murdered in drug wars and at the hands of corrupt police and politicians. And here was I, safe in Canada, worried about the placement of knobs on a stove. I wonder how many of those in thrall to the drug lords and corruption of Mexico would rather be in my place, even with ALS. In many cases, I have a better life expectancy, and in almost all cases, a better life than they.

This doesn't mean I don't want my new stove: I do. Nor does it mean that I won't shop for it some more: I will. What it does mean is that I, along with the rest of us, should never forget our privileged lives, be they long or short. It means that we, all of us, should speak out against corruption and cruelty no matter where it happens. I was reminded today that I am part of a world community, one that suffers at the hands of evil. As a part of that community, I bear a responsibility to speak out, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I can still shop for a stove while doing that.

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