GLOBAL VILLAGER 45 – HUMILITY
Woman aged 32 from Galle, Sri Lanka. Buddhist, lives in poverty and is undernourished, literate, has unsafe drinking water, is pregnant, speaks Singalese, heterosexual
A dejected woman stands in a long queue in front of a makeshift soup kitchen. She is one of a million displaced people following devastation caused by a large Tsunami along Sri Lanka’s coastline.
She feels completely lethargic, traumatized by the death of her mother and the wreckage of the home she so proudly built from her savings. It also demolished the hotel where she worked as a batik artist.
Her husband’s taxi lies like a corpse on the beach and his driving license is floating somewhere in the sea. When she sees the waves, still coughing human bones onto the shore, she averts her terrified gaze and walks towards the food kitchen with her plate to stand in line with the of others.
She recognizes some of them – neighbours she used to look down on for lounging around and being out of work. She cannot bear being reduced to their level and being robbed of all her possessions. All her family’s belongings are now contained in one small box which she is holding in her hand. Her husband is helping destitute elderly relatives in another part of the country. She is pregnant, and she wonders how she will be able to manage on her own when her baby is born.
After initial failure to get through, donations from abroad start to trickle into the area and are distributed by dedicated local doctors and helpers. When the woman is offered a roof over her head, a mattress and new cooking utensils, her cheeks burn with shame. For one second, pride engulfs her like a tornado, but in the next it dissipates, leaving her with the strange feeling of being completely hollow.
The woman humbly accepts the assistance offered and expresses her unending gratitude. No longer provided for by the camp, she is forced to rely on her own initiative. She shares what little she has with her neighbours who support her in return, especially when the baby comes. Her behaviour as a mother becomes purely instinctive. Her instant response to her crying child shows that she has learnt to act from the heart before she thinks and her demonstration of love and humility is an inspiration to those who find difficulty reassessing their values when confronted by material loss.
What trauma has occurred, enabling you to give birth to something new?
How much weight do you give material possessions in your life?
Who deserves more of your respect?
Which situation is inviting you to show the quality of humility?
Is it possible that losing something is a way of finding your lost self?
In what way have you cut yourself off from your instincts?
How quickly do ‘second thoughts’ interrupt your flow of intuitive action and encourage ‘separateness’ from others?
What if everyone believed the more we give, the more we receive?
If everyone were as special as everyone else, how would we treat each other and what would stop us from starting a golden age of peace on earth?
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