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Why Do I Get to be So Lucky?

Oct 31, 2015 | Ponderables

I participate in Quora, an online question-answer forum.  Anyone can ask, anyone can answer. There was a question from a woman whose story was so horrendous that I started my response with, “I just have to ask, is this a joke? It just seems too extreme to be real. But assuming it is…” This girl’s story was so awful that if you put it in a TV drama, no one would buy it. Betrayal, rape, major theft, sleeping on the streets, her own family attacking her… It would get raspberries for being totally unbelievable. I did what I could to help and I must have said something right because she thanked me for it and she and I messaged back and forth for a little while.

I’ve seen horrendous things all my life. We all have. Genocide, mass murders, slavery, etc. But too often, we just don’t do anything. I mean, I know most of the time, there is no reasonable action we could take that will do any good, I get that. But maybe we could just acknowledge it. What I mean is, we look at it as someone else, someone out there. Which it is. But why? Why them and not us? Why wasn’t I born a Tutsi in Rwanda? Why do I have parents who loved me and took care of me? And why don’t those other people? What makes me different?

The answer, of course, is “nothing.” I’m not any different than they are, I was just born into different circumstances. Luck of the draw. So, how come I get so lucky? I’m no more deserving of it than they are. I just think it’s worth being conscious of that a little more than we tend to be.

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