Monday, March 9, 2009

helpless

I found a little notebook, put away, I'd bought a couple on sale as Christmas presents last year. A block of red paper, sandwiched between a perfect red leather square, with 'DIVA' printed on it in old typewriter font, and a definition, held together by a little leather strip and a leather heart, at one corner.

It's gorgeous, somehow, neat and perfect. A luxury, a little slice of design, pristine out of its protective plastic.

The tag on it says 'Made in China' and as I looked at it, stroked the smooth redness of the leather, I wondered if a child's hands had handled it as they put it together, for my throwaway luxury, this thing I don't need. And I felt guilty, and helpless as I thought about it.

Today as I walked out of Tesco with the kids, a woman with a big black eye walked in. She might have been a traveller, with soft hair,and a wide, open, freckled face and nice brown eyes. She looked kind, and a little apologetic, her jacket wet with rain.

And I felt sympathetic, and guilty, as if I should somehow be able to do something to help, to stop her from ever being hit in the face again, to enable her, or give her some strength, or something. Anything to make this awful, awful thing better. Instead of just colluding, looking away, pretending that there's nothing wrong. Helpless.

9 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

I know. I always have thoughts like these. Isn't it my place to save the world?
Oh. No. It's not. But wait- maybe it is.
You said it in a lovely way.

Lucille said...

Jo..

You can't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. The lady with the black eye wouldn't have thanked you for saying anything to her. I solved my child labor issues..and poisonous products issues.I don't buy anything from China if I see it on the label.I buy groceries that are processed here in America. When I found out Fig Newtons are now made in Mexico..I cried. They have been around since I was a child. But I couldn't get them past my lips.

Take it from an old lady, lovely Jo..take care of your family. Love them and protect them. If a time comes and you have some extra time..volunteer at a battered women's shelter or to help at a food kitchen. Don't ever feel guilty for what goes on in this world. Try to be happy in your world.

If a time comes when you see something wrong and know it should be reported..do it. Otherwise..just stay on your own path and keep your head held up high. You have a beautiful soul..

Lucy

jothemama said...

Well thank you, lovely old(er) ladies, what lovely comments to wake up to :)

nick said...

I often have the same feelings of wanting to help people who are suffering in some way, but unfortunately there are so many, where do you begin? As Lucille says, we can't feel guilty for everything that goes on in the world. If there's something obvious and practical I can do to help someone, I will, but otherwise - my first loyalty is to those closest to me.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

The first two comments nailed it.

You could break your own heart just trying to think about things you could be doing.

Compulsive Cook said...

The purse may have been made by adults who were happy to have a job that paid them enough to make sure their children were educated.
The woman might have fallen over and hit her eye on the arm of a chair while dancing around with her toddler.
I'm not saying this is what happened in either case, just that we don't know. There's plenty of things to get upset about that you can do something about - don't make things worse for yourself by assuming the worst is true in situations where you have no knowledge and no control.
Even if it probably is (that's my inner realist breaking through. ignore her).

jothemama said...

Well of course.

The first was just conscientious speculation, the second was more about impressions, I suppose.

Any woman with a black eye always makes us suck in our breath in knowing worry, I know, awful for the people who really did walk into doors...

Ciara said...

Oh Jo, sweet thing. What can I say that wasn't already said so perfectly. All we can do is what we can.

It seems a bit tasteless now to ask if you feel like playing tag.... but if you do... come on over. C x

morgor said...

You're far too caring.

You should get an off-switch for that.