I once got a phone call from a friend (a single mother), who after struggling many years, was finally two interviews away from her dream job; a job that could change both hers and her child’s life. The only problem was, the final interviews would require her to travel to the company’s HQ in another country for three days and it was too short notice for her to arrange child care – she was due to leave in 15 hours and had read the email too late.
I knew how much this job meant to her. She is not someone I know very, very well and so I was surprised when she asked me to assist her by looking after her child.
Now, as much as this was out of the blue, I was honoured to be entrusted by her and knew that even if it meant upheaving my own family life for a few days, then so be it. Having been brought up by a single mother myself, I knew my siblings and I had, had a good childhood (though sometimes challenging), because people (both strangers and friends), had stepped in to assist my mother when she needed help in looking after us. These Angels who had come to our rescue had come in many guises: black, white, rich, poor, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and more. Some were close friends, while others were just distant neighbours or school friends whose parents had helped in big, as well as small ways. Each gesture made a big contribution to our lives. That is probably why to this day, I find it so strange that someone can dislike another because of the colour of their skin, religion, tribe or other; for I have seen that Angels come in many guises. When you close off people, you are in effect, closing off your Angel network.
These good samaritans have made me who I am – from the Christian headmaster who supported us even when school fees was late, to the Hindu friends who always kept their home open to us, to the Muslim friends who sent us plates of pilau in the evenings when they broke their fasts during Ramadhan, because they knew, we had fasted with them, despite being Christian. This is the world I grew up in – and this is the world I see and choose to see. That is not to say I do not recognise evil when I see it. I see and recognise evil in ALL colours, tribes and religion but I choose to remove myself from poison and, where I can, I support the victims of this evil.
So, I make no apologies as I celebrate all of mankind who, on the whole, are good. I have a short list of people who’ve shown me great kindness over my lifetime and I have an on-going project to track them down and to personally say “thank you”. Many are often surprised that what were “small” gestures to them, meant so much to us..
We cannot let evil prevail by allowing ourselves to be contaminated by hate and allow people to influence who we should or should not like, simply because “they are not like us”. I personally would rather save that energy and provide a better life for myself, my family, friends and those who come in the name of friendship and unity. And so back to my friend who has this important interview coming up, I will step up to the plate and be her Angel, as many have been to me. Any upheaval will be temporary for me but for my friend, this job will change hers and her child’s life for good. To read more posts by Miriam, click HERE
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