Perspective: Comic Relief

Jess McGlynnMarch 16, 2013

I’ve been umming and ahhing over writing a post recently about some of the stuff we’ve been going through over the last 18 months.  It’s been a hard 18 months and we’ve struggled a lot in our personal lives with various elements of it but more recently we’ve experienced a surge in hope.  Wheels have been set in motion, decisions have been made and situations have turned around which have led us to stop looking backwards and down at our feet and to start looking forwards.

I am hoping to share the post with you in the near future but I have to admit that yesterday I was thwacked around the face rather sharply by my good old friend perspective.

Watching Comic Relief is always difficult, especially now I’ve become a mother myself.  I wholeheartedly agreed with Davina McCall’s choice of phrase that when you become a mother you join hands with other mothers around the world and you do feel their pain.  I cannot even begin to imagine the pain a mother must feel having to carry the body of her son home in a plastic bag.  My brain can’t even begin to formulate being faced with that scenario.

That isn’t the point where perspective set in.  That moment came when Bill Nighy said “these people didn’t ask to be poor.  We just got lucky.  They’re not asking you for anything.” and I could have just cried.  They haven’t chosen this life for themselves.  But it is their burden to face every day. 

I was surprised at how short-sighted I had become.  I’ve been to Africa, I’ve visited a shanty town in Zambia, I am fully aware of just how beyond poor these people are.  The term ‘less than nothing’ is only understandable I think when you’ve witnessed it with your own eyes.  Poor in this country does not mean the same thing as poor in a third world country.  It doesn’t even come close.  It’s so far beyond the line…you can’t even see the line.

No matter what situation we are facing here, it doesn’t begin to compare.  

So that dispute you’re having with someone else and it’s causing you stress?  As you fill your glass with fresh water to swallow down your headache tablet consider that children are dying every day because they don’t have access to clean water.  

Not being able to buy the latest piece of technology and feeling downhearted because seemingly everyone you know has it?  Totally incomparable with not being able to protect your child from being bitten by mosquitos whilst they sleep because you don’t have the £5 to buy a mosquito net.

Your husband working long hours and thinking how awful it is that you have to be at home with your children on your own all the time.  At least you get to be with your children.  The risks of your children dying from malnutrition, diarrhoea, tetanus and a whole host of other preventable diseases are so minute it’s not even worth considering it as a possibility.

Yes, these are first world problems and they are real problems.  Of course it’s important and vital to take care of our mental well-being and our physical health.  To build good and long lasting friendships and to try and succeed at tasks we set our hands to.  I am particularly guilty of complaining about the last one, as my husband works horrendous hours in a horrible job with awful people but put into perspective: at least he has a job, is able to provide for his family and that we are, for the most part, entirely safe and secure.

The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

But I am asking you to think about it, and I am asking you to consider giving to a very worthy cause. 

Earlier this year 3 bloggers went out to visit Ghana and to see for themselves some of the amazing projects that Comic Relief have funded and how their work has made a difference.  If you haven’t yet donated to Comic Relief please think about visiting their giving page and doing just that.  It could honestly change someone’s life.


Gain some perspective and make a difference today.

Earlier in the week I also posted about Syria and the work Tearfund are doing to help.  Charities providing aid in third world countries has always been something close to my heart and given my new dose of perspective you are probably going to see me writing and tweeting about these things more often.  I’d apologise but considering I think it’s so important, I’ll just ask you to bear with me and keep these people in your thoughts and give when and where you can.

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