I mentioned it before. the bracelet I bought in ethiopia. and even months later it rarely leaves my wrist. as time goes by, ethiopia seems to slip away. I look at photos and think, “that really happened. look. you were there.”
and yet it’s such a world away that somedays it seems hard to believe.
and on those days I feel ungrateful. because ethiopia taught me so much, and then I left. ethiopia taught me things I thought I knew. things we are raised to believe. that what you have doesn’t determine who you are. that all people are the same. that joy and happiness are not defined by your circumstances.
and yet. our society, our reality, makes it easy to forget these things. to get caught up in things that don’t matter. to insulate ourselves from other realities.
I now find myself overcome with emotion in target, the grocery store, malls, concerts, and sometimes even my own home, wondering how this is my reality? how can this reality exist on the same planet as another reality where __________ (fill in the blank)? a) there is no access to clean water. b) people die of vaccine preventable diseases. c) and on and on and on.
this week someone asked me if traveling to ethiopia was life changing.
“yes, of course,” I said.
“in what way?” she asked.
and I surprised myself. I went on and on and on. I usually find it hard to know what to say. but instead the words just flowed.
have you seen the movie inception? (if not, you should.) in the movie, the characters move through dream states. and they each carry a small item in their pockets. something unique to them. a totem, as they call it. the totem only exists in its true state in reality. as such, they rely on it as a means of separating a dream from reality.
the bracelet? is my piece of reality. on the days I feel ungrateful. on the days it feels like it didn’t happen or no longer exists. it’s there. it’s real. it happened.
and I am changed.