The in-between spaces.. The words you don’t say, the plans you don’t make.. The places in which you find yourself, always, which you didn’t expect, didn’t anticipate.. I am reflecting in this way because yet another year has passed, another extra-uterine year celebrated.. And I find myself trying to imagine myself as I was ten years ago, to remember who I was, what my plans were, and it escapes me, that girl, who she was and who she hoped to be.. And so I try instead to reflect on whom I am today, with the full realization that this is all that matters. But I know that who I am is what I do. It isn’t how I dress or what music I listen to or what book I am reading, or how others judge me or how I judge myself, it is really and truly what I do and how I engage in the world, this is who I am. Here, now, is where I make the most important choices, and I know that each one matters in a way that I may not fully understand, but I know it is important.
Some people get star struck over celebrities or athletes and I never really got that. It had never happened to me, until last night. Not that he is a super athlete or a movie star, but last night I had the opportunity to speak to Dr. James Orbinski and I froze. Something completely incoherent came out of my mouth and I think my friend actually had to nudge me into coherence. He might as well have been Britney Spears, not that I would become incoherent in front of Britney. And I know he is just a regular guy, but then again he’s not, he’s Dr. James Orbinski.
He was speaking, or having a conversation about his new book.. “An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the 21st Century.” Truth be told, I’ve been on an Orbinski some-word-that-is-like-obsession-only-less-crazy for the last two weeks. Last week I saw the film “Triage,” in which he returns to Somalia and to Rwanda, to remember, to meet the people, the friends and colleagues and patients he left behind, the people that are still there because he was there. I swear I’m not a stalker, I am just simply grateful, that there is a Dr. James Orbinski, someone who hasn’t given up on the world, despite everything he has experienced, first-hand, and I think it’s amazing.
Dr. Orbinski speaks a lot about the “right” choices. The decisions we make, and their consequences. He speaks a lot about citizenship and each and every person’s responsibility and part in the world. He speaks about how we each have a responsibility to demand a better world, for ourselves, for those who are suffering and who will continue to suffer unless we each make an effort to change it. I know a lot of people wonder what they can do, and they feel powerless to change anything. But he made a good point last night, about power, and the perception of who has it. If we want things to be better, we must demand it, through speaking out, as the first and foremost action, and through living, and choosing, each day, how we will engage in the world.
What I wanted to say, as I froze up, was simply.. Thank you. In the moments when I am seeking how to move forward, to reconcile the past, to make room in my life for the future, I am reminded by your words, by your offering, that I still have the possibility of right now, and because of that, hope is something that can manifest itself into a better future for us all. I am shown what is possible, from the efforts of one man, who firstly and most importantly speaks out, because it really is the first and most important action for change, so thank you. Truly. For your courage, for continuing to not see any other choice but the right choice, thank you. It really matters, for us all.
I am not the same girl that I was ten years ago. Today I am a woman who understands that I am an integral and important part of the world and that the choices I make, right now, today, do matter. I may be nothing like I planned to be, but I am happy with and grateful for who I have become.