Kitchen by TILAH

Am I Really Thankful?

Vietnamese Refugee Children
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Yesterday, I was looking at both my sons after they fell asleep. They were deep in slumber. Their faces were full of peace and they looked so comfortable. Life couldn’t have been happier for me seeing my kids live their innocent lives to the fullest happily. Life is peaceful and quiet. At that moment, life felt like heaven. That is how heaven must have been. It must have been full of beauty, serenity and calm.

I continued to look at them. As I did, I felt so very happy and I thank God for blessing me with two wonderful boys. Instantaneously, I started to feel very sad at the same time. Had I chose to go straight to bed, pull my blankets over and lull myself to sleep in my air-conditioned bedroom, I would have stayed a happy woman till morning. At that moment however, I did not and it was very unusual. Perhaps, it was because I couldn’t. The emotions that hit me at that time were too much to bear that I did not want to make myself any happier or comfortable. I just couldn’t.

I realised that this feeling hit me for a reason. It hit me because despite being happy with my life and being thankful to God, I know that somewhere out there in the world, there are babies and children sleeping in the cold. Some of them had to cry themselves to sleep out of hunger. Some of them are crying because they lost their parents and their homes right before their eyes and they are all alone. No loving hug nor assurance nor a comforting hold on their hands. Some of them are crying because life wasn’t as calm and wonderful as they thought it would be and they are in constant fear hearing the sounds of gun fires and explosions. Some of them might even be breathing their last because they were too ill, too hungry or were being killed.

Afghan Refugee Children
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As a woman and as a mother, I also know that there are women just like me out there, who love their children as much as I do. Who share the same hopes and dreams of a better future for their children as I do. Who deserve the same peaceful, happy and comfortable life as I do. Why then did they not? They are so helpless because they had to live in a war stricken country. They are so helpless because they lost their fathers, husbands and sons. They are so helpless because they could not feed their hungry children. They are so helpless because they don’t have the sources or the means to care for their children who are ill. They are so helpless because they do not have the strength and power to save their young children from the tortures and torments of war. They must have been so helpless and feeling very miserable that they could not provide for and protect their children. They must have been in so much despair because there was nothing that they could do. I could never imagine myself feeling what they felt and going through what they went through. What then, have I done on my part to help?

Sometimes, it makes me wonder why was I in this part of the world that is peaceful and safe and they were not. It makes me wonder why am I so more fortunate and my life is so much better and sufficient when theirs were not. Why do their innocent and little children were subjected to so much hunger, fear and pain and mine were not?  Those children deserve every bit of happiness and love as my kids do.  Was it because my children were any more innocent than their children were? Was it because I was a better and deserving mother than those mothers were?  Most certainly not and I just couldn’t digest all of it. It was too much. Too much for me to take in and bear that I felt so nauseated. I am in no position whatsoever to question God but in all honesty, I couldn’t understand God’s purpose. I really couldn’t understand one bit of it at all and I was so sad.

I cannot deny that these are the real and bigger problems of the world and there I was, a few months back upset over the cracked screen of my smart phone. Honestly, how much of the problems that I am facing is actually a real problem.  Is it really worth my time and worry?  I should be thinking of ways to help make the world a better place, to help and give more to those women and children who are really in need.  That should be my way of thanking God. 

I have a job, a family, a roof over my head, enough to eat and a bed to sleep on. How much happier do I need to be?  How well do I mean it when I say, “I thank God for everything!”.  It is time for me to do more than just some self –reflection. I am guilty.  Are you?


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