My grandparents are currently on a trip (again!) to Israel and have set up a Facebook page for the family to keep up to date with their travels. They’ve been there for about three weeks now, and so far I’ve seen pictures of them on an airplane and Dubai airport.
The most recent entry was from Jordan – Mt Nebo to be exact. For those not in the know, Mt Nebo is famous for mosaics of all shapes and sizes. They were visiting a workshop there set up for disabled people to learn the art of mosaics. My grandparents love for both the disabled and the Holy Land is well documented, so I’m sure combined was something of a dream come true for them!
I was reflecting on this little workshop they went to. I assume, like most things in the Middle East, it’s surrounded by dust, concrete buildings and searing heat. Whilst Jordan is a relatively safe country (as safe as you can get in that region!), it is surrounded by hostility – wars in Syria and Iraq, ongoing tensions in Israel and the ever looming threat of Iran getting the bomb.
We are shown constantly of Israel and Hamas bombing the snot out of each other. Claims are made from both sides, blood pours on both sides of that boarder.
In the middle of it, there is this unassuming workshop for the disabled, to make mosaics.
In the context of the Middle East, I can only imagine the needs of these most beautiful people do not rate much of a mention in any forum. I don’t expect that the little workshop for the disabled is brought up in Arab League meetings, nor will it be an agenda item on the upcoming G20. But someone – and to be honest, I don’t know who runs it – has set up this workshop for the disabled to give them life, meaning, skill and hope.
A true pocket of humanity, in an otherwise inhumane part of the world.
I can only imagine the life-changing dignity these disabled people have, and the absolute amazing work the people running that organisation have. You could probably argue there are a multitude of equally, possibly more worthwhile causes in that region – the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq is the first that comes to mind. But no – not to the people that run this workshop, making mosaics with the disabled.
There are pockets of humanity all around us. You’ll find it in a street team, bringing a hot meal to the homeless. You’ll find it in the teacher who actually gives a damn and stays back to tutor that kid who wants to achieve. It’s in the family that sells up to move to South East Asia to help fight child prostitution.
My wife and I have been talking about how we can show humanity and thankfulness to our children – especially leading up to Christmas. Without a doubt, it is so so easy to get wrapped up (see what I did there!) in the excitement of gift giving, about getting more, about ‘things’. We’ve come up with a few ideas, and would love to what you’ve done to instill ‘outward looking’ values in your children.
Finding pockets of humanity, however, isn’t about other people. As touching as it is to hear about random acts of kindness, humanity or thankfulness, it’s up to you to practice them too.
Of course, it does not have to be anything big. For you, it might not be opening a workshop for the disabled, or giving haircuts to the homeless, or helping the newly arrived in your country settle. It could be as simple as giving the guy who sells The Big Issue a smile and a G’day in the morning. It might be leaving a sandwich next to that homeless women you pass at the train station. Perhaps it could be an afternoon at the local school, doing remedial reading. Who knows – there’s no limit or capacity to the kindness that can be shown.
So I’m throwing out the challenge to you – make a pocket of humanity this week! You might not be able to change the world, but you can change someones day by something simple as a smile!
Picture totally stolen of my grandparents facebook page.