Realities (HLD 327)

13 Feb 2021

I lie on the couch contemplating an afternoon nap, but I’ve got a couple of conflicting thoughts strolling through my mind that are impeding my afternoon nappiness.

Firstly, I’ve been looking around the walls of my house, looking at photos I’ve taken on travels around the world over the past 15 years or so. There’s the leopard photo that I took on a trip to Botswana, the photo of the Eiffel Tower, the photo of the Millennium Tower in Dublin, pictures from Yosemite National Park and Washington National Park in the US, and from the Icefields Parkway in Canada. There are even photos from Australian trips. It’s a lovely bunch of reminders about how fortunate I’ve been on my ability to see so much of the world.

And then, the other thing running through my mind today, is a story about a woman who lived in WA in the 1840’s. Her photo was displayed online in one of the groups I follow that show you old photos from our state. Her photo was nothing remarkable, but her story was. Apparently her parents emigrated from England to Australia in 1842. She married at the age of 14 (??!!) and bore 17 children, then passed away. Her husband obviously needed help with the kids, so he remarried and had eight more children. This was in a time when European settlement in the state was in the early stages, so life would have been fairly basic and tough.

This woman’s story was remarkable in that only three of her children died young, and the person who put the photo up commented that the family tree is huge and there are cousins everywhere.

But – lives of people from different eras….

My very fortunate life in this lovely country has been built on the back of people who came before me, and lived tough lives. They struggled to get by, they did the very best they could so that their children and their grandchildren could have easier lives than they did.

I’m struck today by the comparison of my life with this woman’s. She travelled overseas also, but it would have been a very long and uncomfortable trip by sea. My trips overseas have been uncomfortable too. Often it’s nearly a 24 hour turnaround to get to the other side of the world. And cattle class air travel isn’t a lot of fun. Don’t get me started on jet lag.

But I have a comfortable couch to rest my butt on. I have running water, a flushing toilet, electricity, a motor vehicle at my disposal, air conditioning, technology at my fingertips, a fridge full of food and a healthy wine rack. And I managed to have only two children.

I don’t think I can look at my travel photos and moan about my inability to travel overseas for another year or two or three.

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