|photo by katerina plotnikova|
I sat cross-legged on the grass. It was itchy in the way tropical grass always is. Was it uncomfortable with itself, too? Grass never seemed as happy in the heat as palm trees or orchids or gardenias did. Maybe their itch was their way of expressing themselves. But before I could wonder anymore, a few people sat down beside me …
One had a bone through his nose. He said it was for picking food out of his teeth or getting dirt from under his fingernails. I thought him resourceful. And his eyes, they talked kindly to me. Another sat down with tattoos all over her face. They highlighted the beauty that she was. A darker brown on her brown was beautiful. She nursed a baby on one breast and a pig on the other. She was smiling. I was, too. So was the man with the bone in his nose. Still more joined us. I can’t remember all of them, but each was unique, each was beautiful, each touched me with their genuine selves worn so effortlessly.
They asked me questions. Why my skin was so light. Why my hair was so straight and long. Could I help them grow their hair long, too? Could they have some of it to remember me by? And then ... they asked me what I would do when I went back to my home country, when I went back to where I was from. I swallowed hard and decided to tell them the truth.
“When I go home,” I said with tender eyes, “I will have to get a job. I will have to work. And probably not on the land, but in a building.”
“Work? Inside? But why would you want to do that?” they said to me.
“To make money. Because, you see, if I don’t have money, I won’t have a place to live or food to eat. If I don’t have money, I will go hungry.”
Their faces looked at me, blankly. And then the man with the bone in his nose said, “Don’t you have land to use? Don’t you have family? Can’t you plant sweet potatoes?”
“I can plant sweet potatoes and I will, but still, I will have to work to pay for my house, just as the rest of my family does. It is what we all do in the United States. We must. To survive. We have to work for not just what we want, but what we need. And sometimes we even have to work at jobs that we don’t like just to have enough money to live.”
And do you know how that beautiful group of natives reacted that day in the heart of Papua New Guinea?
They wailed with tears streaming down their faces.
For all who struggle in a system that doesn’t naturally feed their souls.
* * *
My Wish? That you replenish your soul. That you see the system you were born into and work through it. Not against it, but through it. There are always ways to replenish your soul. There are always ways to feed your spirit. Listen to your soul’s desires. Honor those desires, those wishes, those secret, but not forgotten, dreams. Let them guide you to a life of your own choosing, a life that you love, a life that makes you feel as if you have wings. Then fly, my dear …. FLY!