I am often amazed by this world. My breath is often taken by the simplicity of the beauty in this world. There are times when the world seems to work in such a pattern, such a beautiful linear road that I am slowly and surely walking along. One foot follows the next and I can move with the flowing tides. There is a balance in the universe, an yin and yang, an up and down. Every reaction has a precipitating action, and there is a blessing in the continuity of it.
While I find beauty in black and white, dark and light, and the enormous fluctuation that must be maintained constantly, there are also times when I am reminded that a small particle, a small thought can change everything. There are times that the single word, that single thought, that single child can change the world for the best, and there are times other simples can change the world for the worst. And the trouble lies in the fact that none of us really understand that.
A simple decision that one makes can effectively start a chain that can severely change our future and all we know about it. And the worst part is I am not exaggerating; and yet, it is a lesson that our world can not accept, nor can they learn. For to learn that every one of our actions may cause devastating results can not be born with our desperate need to be selfish and right. We train ourselves not to look beyond the moment, to be ego-centric and relative to the moment, for the absolute blind comfort it brings. If we have to think of our actions and decisions as powerful, than how could we justify that which we assume but never see.
This was brought home to me yesterday. A simple decision changed the flow of everything. I will tell the story simply and just know that I embellishing one part so that the lesson becomes louder than the words.
Our children’s daycare director called to say that my three-year old had an accident, and needed a change of clothes. My three-year is potty trained, but like all children she sometimes can’t hold it as long as we all want her too. So the director in charge demanded that my husband and I be called and that we immediately leave our work and bring the child a change of clothes. First let me state that the daycare had changes of clothes, I know they have dressed my child in them before. And second let me state out loud that the director is a woman who would never understand either consequences nor be able to ever see beyond her own needs. However, I don’t expect much from daycare workers, I am sorry to say. Most of them (although not all) hate their job, the children and I have yet to figure out why they are there except that it is a job that needs no education and no investment.
So because I was three hours away, my husband left his work, went home and then dropped the clothes at the daycare. While he was gone from work, a container of medical supplies missed their port cut off, didn’t make the boat, and now will not be delivered to a country most of us couldn’t begin to find on a map. Because my husband and I were in need of a lesson to learn, designated by a selfish woman, a load of supplies will not make their port. A single phone call means that while my three-year old is dressed, another three-year old could be without medicine for a week.
I would never have called my husband if I had known this was going to be a result. My husband would have made the daycare and my child wait if he had known this was a result. I truly believe the port and the man who needed to approve the container would have waited ten more minutes if they knew the full story. But because of one phone call, none of that happened. The ship sailed.
The ship sailed. Because one person, who will never know or be touched by the results of this decision, made a mistake. Should I tell her about the mistake, this is the kind of person that would justify it in her head until she felt no guilt. And we all do this. We all justify to ourselves the actions that we take in order to sleep at night. The problem is, and it truly is a problem, so many times we are not confronted with the true costs of those decisions. Instead, we are blind and ignorant. The director will never accept that she possibly caused the death of an innocent person somewhere half way around the world. She will never believe that her simple action had consequences that may scar everyone. If the medicine doesn’t make it, and a child dies, will we ever know if that was the next great man? It seems like a grandiose question, but a single call literally changed more than it ever should have.
This world will probably never accept the consequences of their actions. They will probably never remember that each ripple in the pond affects the whole world. They will never remember that a scream in the forest can be heard at the top of a mountain. It is beyond most humans; we are selfish and so completely happy to be so.
But I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. Maybe I don’t need the lesson, but I certainly need the reminder.