I have always said that if you are going to dream, dream big. People tend to be aware of only their immediate surroundings. We worry about the cleaning and Joey’s school report and Suzy’s music lessons. Situations on the other side of the world are meaningless to us. We do not believe that we can be affected except in the price of our gasoline, for example. That kind of thinking is small. We should, no must, be aware of and be concerned about the people on the other side of the world. We need to think outside our little world and let the rest of the people in. I do not mean to imply that we should send all our savings to refugee camps in Saudi Arabia or that a hunger strike would show solidarity for the starving thousands in other countries. People in war torn or hunger ravaged countries do not care about the big picture. They are just trying to survive. We on the other hand have the luxury to care because we are fat and complacent.
I do not mean that last statement literally, although some people do fit that description literally. We live in a country that allows us to eat and get medical care and to be educated. We are a country of luxuries and we get miffed when our ‘luxuries’ are in danger. How does that relate to people battling a nasty disease? Well, in my case, MS will not kill me and no one is tossing me into the gutter because I am taking up space. Okay, maybe a few would like to but that is another story.
All of us, able-bodied and disabled, are so concerned with our ‘stuff’ and the extras in our lives that it is difficult to comprehend the suffering, the terror and the deprivation that abound in other countries. We worry about the country club dues and whether or not to buy lottery tickets. And we have worries here as well. The SARS scare, the West Nile, AIDS, the list goes on. So why are some people so fixated on a little, itty, bitty, incurable disease? Put things into perspective using a global model and things look a tad different. I may never work again but I will still have a home, I will still be able to eat, get medical care etc., etc. My little picture is safe, protected by society, my government (yes I said government), and by my employer. Pretty cushy picture I think.
The necessities of life are taken care of. My job is to take care of the quality of that life. At the moment I cannot change the disease but that does not mean I give up. As I said earlier, I will try and modify the symptoms. I will ensure that I can contribute to society and remain a valuable member of my little world. But I will never forget to be thankful that I am here. I will never forget to say a prayer for the others who are not so lucky and I will do what I can to help others, in my small way. The big picture is important. So is my little picture. The global picture is even more important. We live in a global village and we are all beholden to each other, never forget that.