BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Things I Take for Granted

A recent visit to a women's correctional institute moved me to the core.

A mother I interviewed has not seen her seven children for more than 600 days now.  I think of my own child and the countless times I ignored her tug, choosing instead to write, to read or to simply steal a few hours of sleep.

They have not been with their parents, families, siblings. I keep ignoring my mother's pleas for attention. They have played with fire to bring food on the table. They have dealt with drug syndicates to earn a living. They have murdered. They have robbed. They have stolen money just to bring home something for dinner to their families.  I splurge on unnecessary stuff.

They would trade anything to be with their beloved, even for just a few seconds. I would waste hours fighting with the love of my life on bad days. And for that I am sincerely and profoundly sorry. (His eyes are rolling right now as he is reading this. He is sighing in frustration, I can almost hear it). 

I complain a lot. I get mad at people. I whine. I can be so demanding. I can be such a brat. I go ballistic. These sentenced criminals let out their kindest smiles, even to a stranger like me. They live a difficult life, as difficult as the person that I am.

I am in awe of their resilience and strength.