My Inspiration September 29, 2008
What inspires me? A hug has inspired this post. A hug that made it’s way to my handbag from Darragh Doyle himself. The condition of this hug was that I write a post about what inspires me. I did promise that the post would be written the day after said event but work and a mighty cough have kept me from the keyboard. Forgive me? It’s incredible what one will do when somebody throws something you’re not expecting right at you, when your world begins to fall apart in one fell swoop, when you’re not sure where your next home will be. I’m not sure this is heading towards a post about inspiration but I’m going to go with it. Kids. Kids inspire me. The way they handle situations they are thrust into, how they survive through unimaginable pain, the way they smile when it seems they have nothing to smile about. Children are stronger than we as adults could ever wish to be. I hesitated as I typed that last sentence as I thought about a very close friend of mine and her enviable strength throughout a difficult adolescence. She was a rock for so many even though her own life was shaking like a leaf. I remember blinking at her through my tears as she, her sisters and her mother said their final goodbyes to her father through song. We were fifteen. I couldn’t tell you the name of that song if you paid me, all I could think was how does she do it. She kept her family from falling apart after her father’s passing, she nursed her mother when she fell seriously ill over a year later, drove in and out to Vincent’s daily during her mum’s stint in hospital on her provisional license behind the wheel of a less than road worthy Uno, while making sure her little sister made it to school every day, lunch in hand and taking up a part time job to bring in a little income for them to survive. She had strength then that I’m not sure she could even recognise in herself because it was “something she had to do”. She was a young girl who did what she did because this was her life and she didn’t know any different at the time. With adulthood comes world experience and an insight into the lives of others that clouds our ability to approach life altering situations with the raw intuition that children attack hardship with. Some might say that this is because children don’t understand the extent of certain situations, that they can’t comprehend how certain events will alter their life indefinitely but I disagree. I have come across children as young as 5 years who have lost a parent, been victims of abuse and have been born with a disease few of us will ever have to face. Every child I have met in these circumstances still remembers how to smile. They remember how to find joy in the simple things in life. With age adults often forget how to look at the world with new eyes, hope is often abandoned without second thought and the future becomes blurred beyond recognition. I’m not sure I’m even making myself clear here. At the risk of appearing like a Trocaire ad, look at this smile… This is Zawadi. Zawadi is 6years old in this picture, she’s now seven. Zawadi is an orphan in Moshi, Tanzania. Like most of the children there Zawadi lost her parents to AIDs, a disease she now lives with. Not once in the month that I spent in that orphanage did I notice one sign that she was ill or starved of human contact. This little girl went without the hundreds of hugs and kisses most 6 year olds have received in their short lives because the fear of catching the life taking disease causes people to be over cautious and refuse this cutie every cuddle and kiss she deserves (thankfully Andrew was there to supply them in bucket loads). She was just one of four AIDs fighters in the orphanage and picking them out of the entire bunch would be impossible as they tackled each day with a smile, skip and a giggle. To answer your question Darragh, that smile inspires me. It inspires me to look at life through new eyes everyday. These new eyes like those of a child have the greatest vision on the world, one that shines a light many adults have lost.