I don't know why I was suddenly moved to think this, but I was.
Reading a book my Mum sent over, I came across a little paragraph about India's Zoroastrian community. Of which, I am a part.
'We' arrived on India's shores in AD 936, it says.
While intellectually, I can appreciate how long ago this was, I've never really felt how long this was.
And some smaller waves of people in the years after.
It hits you deeply and personally when you think that the only reason you have the life you have is because someone had the balls to get into a boat and go someplace where they'd have a better life. Someplace they could be themselves. Be at peace. And they recognised the intrinsic value of that, and valued it far above 'staying and fighting forever'. So they left, and somewhere in those boats of people, who I imagine carried few belonginings and their precious sacred fire, were my people as well.
A grandmother from thousands of years ago, a grandfather, my family.
I wonder if they wondered whether they were making the right decision, whether they had second thoughts, whether they were heartbroken to leave or ecstatic about the surprises ahead, or both.
Sentimental as it may seem, I wish I could whisper backwards through history and say, 'Yes! Please do go, don't look back.' Because here I am today, you did good, the people who came after you did good. Brilliant, in fact. And we're here today. Happy, 'successful' and most importantly - we're peaceful. We're left alone to be what we want to be. And that is everything.
We never really appreciate how history flows in our veins, colours our lives, bends them this way and that. The only reason I have the life I have today is because someone made a decision to make that possible for himself or herself - and those who would come after - and followed through on it. And that someone was himself or herself just a speck in a huge movement of people wanting the same thing. Responding to fear and persecution and making a decision - stay and fight, or leave, and live. Of course, I might have lived elsewhere, and that life might have been a good one. But it's the difference between taking that chance and ensuring a better life is what is crucial here. 'I guess my children and my childrens' children might have it better' versus 'I am going to go so that they will have it better.' There is a world of difference between those two things.
I never thought I'd say this, but I can see their wisdom now. They left, I live. And for that gift, I need to be grateful. It's as simple as that.
** - copied from my Facebook notes, but hey.. a girl can only write so much in one day and no more.