Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pause for a brief interruption

Today, like so many days is shaping up to be a little wild, but I needed to stop and reflect on something for a minute. Reflect with me if you will.

I am wrapping up my graduate education in Public Health this summer. It's exciting and this field has surprised me consistently throughout my educational journey. I often read things that make me sad or angry about the current health status of groups of people or entire continents. Currently, we are discussing population, natural resources and environmental response. This is not a new topic and I've been happy to be able to utilize some of my old resources in the various assignments.

Every once in awhile a piece of information doesn't just surprise me it forces me to reflect on how much there is still left for me to learn. These moments are important moments in my humanity as well as my education. It reminds me that no matter how enlightened I think I am, not only is there more to learn, but to also not overlook information that I already have stored.

The piece that I read this morning wasn't anything shocking or particularly sensational, which I think further drives home the point. Awareness is essential to compassion, understanding and promoting a difference in the world.

You're probably all wondering what kind of information could instigate me to drop everything and wax poetic on the state of my mind. I will tell you, but be warned it will probably feel a little anticlimactic. In fact maybe you already know this information, or have inferred it through other readings. Anyway...

The article was a discussion on North Korea and the unprecedented experiences that two journalists from the west were given within that country. The article was interesting, but the part that made me stop and evaluate my knowledge of the world were the facts related to the populations per annum income and the need for food aid. The average per annum income in N. Korea is $1800 and 24 million people (1/4 of the population) rely on food aid to keep from going hungry.

I know that we have hunger in our own country, I know that we have extreme poverty in our own country, and I know that the socialist policy in N. Korea is an integral piece of the of the issues that they face. I think what gave me pause about this was that when I think of hunger and poverty as issues, it never occurred to me to think of a country like North Korea. Maybe it should have, I don't know. It's just that in that moment I was reminded of how big the world is, how beautiful my life is, and how easy it is to take the blessings of this life for granted.

I don't pity situations like the one in North Korea because I don't think that pity would be constructive, nor do I think that it would be welcome. I don't feel like I need to run out and save their country, my country or anyone elses for that matter. The profound emotion that I am feeling is, awareness. I'm aware and I think that that is powerful. Awareness means that when and if an opportunity presents itself I will be able to make a difference. Awareness means that I have expanded my world and the comprehension of that world. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that I will sit on the sidelines of life and wait for the opportunity to make a difference to appear. There will be times for feeling inspired to create the opportunity, today just isn't that day. Today is a day to become aware and to appreciate the importance of that awareness. Without awareness, how would we ever know that it was time to create an opportunity to make a difference?