If you have enough to eat, and a safe place to sleep, and nobody wants to kill you or take you from your family, you are among the most fortunate few of a troubled world, and you should never forget your sheer luck.
I read this last Sunday. Joseph O'Connor said it in the Observer magazine, and, although it's certainly not the first time that's been pointed out to me, and I'm equally sure it won't be the last, it's been niggling at me.
I'm lucky. I'm so, so, lucky. My whole family is, and most of the people I know.
It's not just O'Connor's words though. It's these pictures:
which Potty Mummy posted a couple of days ago, and the reports that Motherhood and Anarchy posted from the Jheelpur slum in Bangladesh, as well as the fantastic support that Josie, Eva and Sian are giving to Save the Children through the Blogladesh initiative.
And the question is, what am I going to do about it?
And while I realise the dramatic answer would be to say that I'm going to whisk my entire family off somewhere to "make a difference", I am also reminded of Milton: They also serve, who only stand and wait.
I feel, secretly, that giving money to charity isn't enough, that I should be the Borders' answer to Mother Teresa. To be doing. To be putting my body on the line. Getting my hands dirty. Going to Bangladesh, like Motherhood and Anarchy did, and Josie, Sian and Eva are. But I can't. And the amazing people who can and are doing those things need money to do so.
B and I already give regularly to charity, and we also sponsor three children in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Mali, but somehow, now that none of that is my money, it feels like I am not doing anything, or perhaps just that we can do more. So I'm going to go back to basics, and I'm going to tithe my own, small, income.
I'm also going to do (and indeed am doing) something that that British side of my nature thinks is rather inappropriate, (and that, having seen what the Blogladesh initiative is doing, now also feels a bit lame, but still... ) I'm going to blog about it. Each month I'm going to pick a charity, and I'm going to write about it, in the hope, not that you'll all think I'm wonderful
So, and with apologies to Save the Children, because the video was actually the first thing that I saw that got me thinking like this, and because it seems to cover the aims of all those who have made me think over the last week, 10% of my last month's income has been sent to Unicef:
"We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We believe that we can, together, advance the cause of humanity.
We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future."
You can find out how you can support Unicef by clicking here.