Somewhere near Amherstburg my Kelsey was six months old, and my Carly was two and a half. We lived on a farm, and their dad was baling straw in the hot sun of the late morning and early afternoon. A few days earlier my best friend had given birth to a tiny, tiny son, and they were both still in hospital.
I started watching the coverage of the LiveAid concerts in the morning on a little black and white TV in the kitchen as I went about the day with the little ones. I made lunch and a takeaway dinner for their dad to take with him to his other job on the afternoon shift.
The June Bugs (Fish Flies) were on. I forgot to turn the garage light off in the evening and the front of the house was covered with them when he got home at midnight and he was really cranky about it. I had seen this worldwide event unfold over the course of the day and thought there were other things to think about than June Bugs living their short lives on our garage door. For one day the whole world came together to try and do something right.
Some of the bands delivered kick-ass performances. This is the one that blew me away.
Oh, and there was Queen, and Dire Straits, and Mick Jagger and Tina Turner and Teddy Pendergrass… And this band with its tired, scruffy, opinionated, awkward, sweaty and articulate singer were pretty bloody compelling…
In my last post I talked about how important stories are in how we understand and see things, and the impact they can have on individuals, communities and societies. Telling stories about ourselves gives us power in that we can articulate where we place ourselves in the world and in our communities and families, and we can then see how to make changes or enhancements. Telling stories about ourselves takes us out of a sea of faceless population and validates our experiences. Telling our stories puts our voices out there into the grand dialogue of history
The problem of AIDS in Africa is huge. Mind bogglingly huge. So huge most of us have difficulty wrapping our brains around it and we tuck it in the backs of our minds as "way over there on a distant continent" with our, probably quite sincere, hopes that it will eventually go away. We might contribute money to the problem but we probably feel it's like throwing a penny in a giant, bottomless well.
But then you encounter a single story about one doctor and one man, and the problem is no longer a sea of faceless people on a distant continent, it is one person. One man who might have a lot in common with you and me. And you might think that penny didn't fall into a vast well, it went to help one real person.
I dare you to not be moved by Maithri's poetic prose and his stories of love and compassion and hope while he works to help one person at a time - and seeing a world of possibility in each one.
Read his latest story here: On difference.