When someone announces they are pregnant, it’s happy news. You are going to be so happy when you see that little baby of yours, it’s truly a miracle. And it is – holding that small, innocent life in your hands – whoa; it’s quite something.
One day, I was walking with my husband through the mall, holding my son in my arms. As we are walking he says “Isn’t it funny, all these people here, were all babies once, just like our son. We were once a baby, just like our son”.
I look at all the people walking and shopping by. I notice the expression on their faces, mostly sad, zoned out – just going through the motions. I wonder what lives they live, what struggles they face. I notice their clothes and what shops they enter, which gives an inkling of their economic status. Some must struggle more than others. As we drive back we drive through parts of town with nice houses, we also drive past a township. I notice the people, the children. I remember all the people from the mall. I imagine all the people we’ve encountered today as little babies. All equally, cute, innocent and precious as my own son.
I become really sad and ask myself: God, what have we done?
Each of these people were little miracles. Once they all had the same joyful, trusting expression my son exhibits. That gaze that claims that only good can come their way. That the world is full of fun and possibilities, and they can’t wait to explore it.
And for most of these little miracles, the opposite happened. How could it have gone any other way?
We live in a world of conditionality. We don’t just live, we have to earn our living. While the adults go and earn their living – the children take a backseat. Schools, a place we are told we go to, to develop our utmost potential in life, turns out to be a babysitting factory where we each day get numbed and dumbed down a little more. While the material you get fed seems to rather go in the one ear and out the other once we’ve ‘passed the test’; what really sticks is the conformation, the peer pressure, the obedience towards those in positions of authority, the desire to meet your parents’ expectations, the labels that were thrown at you. Then school is over, and so is your childhood. Now, you too must go and earn your living.
I remember all the people we encountered again. How some were having disputes about their relationships. Parents struggling to get to things in time whilst children wanted to do anything but go where the whole family was headed. The threats, the shouting, the insulting of one another.
Even those earning their living, are not really living. Every day is just another struggle to get to the next, and the next, and the next. We hope for the best, even when our world shows us it’s one of very few winners and many losers drawing the short end of the stick. We keep doing what we’re doing, how we have been doing it – hoping, that somehow maybe things will be different for us or for our children.
This all reminds me of the Divergent movie series. Where everyone lives according to a system, a way of life as ‘how things have been’, and keep doing and living the same thing over, thinking it ‘must be the right thing’ – if it’s what we have been doing for such a long time, surely this is how things are supposed to be.
But then it turns out their entire society, their entire way of living, was just an experiment. It was never absolute, it was never a “law” that things must continue as they are. In fact, the experimenters were waiting for someone to change the whole thing. While the majority of the people saw themselves as good citizens, within living within the predetermined lines of the system, thinking and believing that ‘that must be its purpose’ – the purpose was exactly the opposite.
What if life on Earth, our way of living was just an experiment. What if the whole purpose of how we live, is not to continue living this way, but to step beyond it – to transcend it. To start colouring outside of the lines. Why do we insist on living li(v)es where every single person – every one of these single people having been a miracle at birth – end up living an undignified life? End up getting less than what every single person deserves; regardless of birthplace, race, or economic status?
I’d say we have experimented enough, and that the results of our experiment are pretty conclusive: this isn’t going anywhere good.
Let’s come up with something new. If not for us, do it for the children to come.