Our steps take us many places in our short, fairly eventful lives. We brave the elements and the various courses essentially as though we have a choice.
I have spent most of my life believing that I had a choice, that each course before me was created anew by that choice and my will to make it happen. I never gave much credence to some grand plan or destiny, ordained by the stars, by God, by a greater power. Life seemed a grand frontier, an open plain waiting for each one of us, depending upon our will.
Silly me. We can see but not understand. We can be made to look away or excuse what we see. The truth is often hidden from our innocent eyes. In my young life, there was poverty before me, all around in the city streets of New Orleans, Maracaibo, Caracas, South Dakota, Houston, and in towns around California, especially visible closer to the border … and now in Minneapolis, where I have spent almost fifty years.
What happens to young children when they have only their wills to get them through a life of poverty, a life without good education or opportunities to lift up and broaden their perspectives, their choices? What is the greater part of society missing when this happens? We all suffer.
Does a child in this kind of situation have a choice? Do any of us have a choice? Our environments set our choices for us much of our lives. It is easy for a man or woman of means to say we have choices. It seems so obvious to someone who has options, opportunities and a hand up in life, all of one’s life … someone with money, with time and people who love and support them. It’s not a given to those without.
The will to survive is a powerful and necessary ingredient in our lives. It can make us saints or criminals, and most often it makes us products of our environment. What else could be expected?
When women and men enter lives of prostitution, for instance, are they not products of their environment? Why does anyone enter “the life” selling that most precious of commodities, their spirit, their bodies to be used and abused by others? What has been done to a man who would buy or sell another human for profit or pleasure? What kind of choice is this? It is not the person, but the environment, that needs profound change.
I finally understood that so much in our lives is determined for us by our environments, and that understanding is necessary to change society for the better. We need to understand that many people have few options and therefore enter lives that they would rather not, if only they were given a better playing field. Treating the symptoms will never cure the dis-ease.
I found that my own choices were determined not only by my own potential, but initially and essentially by my environment. I was lucky in many ways, had the education, the mother and father who loved me so perfectly imperfectly, the experiences that broadened my perspectives and gave me an understanding of the life before me.
How many children are we losing every day, how many lost opportunities for a better world? How many beauties are being lost to a world with no vision? When will this change? When will we open our eyes wide open and understand that every child deserves to be loved; and put that understanding in action providing the best educational opportunities we can give them and lives with options.
Things need to change holistically. Love needs to be our profound all-encompassing business for the betterment of all society and the love of beauty as we take our steps through this life.