When reading historical accounts on a page in a book with neat black print on a clean white page, about the trail of tears, or the cramped conditions on slave ships, or the underground railroad it's easy to forget these events happened to actual people. People who had headaches, bladder infections, colicky babies and blisters. The events themselves are horrific, the physical hardships that were forced upon these people is way beyond my comprehension. What amazes me is they had to deal with all this on top of the brutality of simply being human.
Sometimes I wake up, after a full night's sleep, in a comfortable bed, next to the women I love, in a warm house with a full fridge in a terrible mood. Sometimes after a long days work in an environment filled with friends and food I come home petulant and cranky. Sometimes I get sick and stay in bed all day. Sometimes my lower back goes out, my muscles ache and my stomach is sour. I am not alone in this malaise, everyone feels it. Every refugee in a every tent city feels the same at times, but, they also have to deal with being a refugee in a tent city. They have to deal with every aspect of being human and deal with it hungry.
Seeing the images of the Haitian people wandering through their city of rubble is hard to watch. Understanding that one may have just ruptured an ovarian cyst, or is dealing with fibromyalgia, or the child on screen may be asthmatic is a whole other level of reality, a reality that the images on TV, or the words on a page don't convey. To gain perspective for a life that has been turned upside down by war or natural disaster is to first remember how hard it is at times for you to get through your day, even after a good night's sleep, breakfast, a shower, coffee, etc. and then imagine your day without those amenities and having to deal with the trauma of war or the aftermath of disaster.
I write about this because, quite frankly, it's hard to hear some people bitch. Not that everyone's hardships need to be relative to another's, but it is good to keep perceptive on how good most of us have it and how much worse it could get.