We’d planned Friday to be a roadtrip day with our daughter who took advantage of a remaining vacation day at work. Except when the forecast started looking more and more rainy, drizzly, miserable the roadtrip idea washed away and we were left to our own devices.
The thing is, we don’t need to do anything to have a good time together. We find plenty of things to talk about and to laugh about, but we weren’t in the mood to just sit in the coach and spend the day talking.
With the grand-one’s wedding coming up in a few months there are things to be bought — like a mother-of-the-bride dress, so we killed a little time trying on dresses; meaning that the mother-of-the-bride tried on dresses and the grandparents stood around watching and cheering. And we did a little mall-walking, with stories and smiles and giggles. Nothing special; just the most special moments in life. You know what I mean. The most special times don’t have to be special at all!
Peggy had seen one or two TV adverts for the movie, The Queen of Katwe so we decided to check it out and what a delight! The story takes place entirely in Uganda, Sudan, and Russia. It’s about a young girl who finds her power in chess and it’s literally the best story I’ve heard in a couple years. I’m not a huge fan of anything Disney, but for this movie I made an exception. It’s worth seeing. I’ll warn you that there are street scenes that will make you guilty as a comparatively rich American; and if you don’t walk away feeling appreciative of what you possess — not matter how much or how little — then you must have slept through the movie. But… the power is there, let it have it’s way with you.
To me, stories like these point out the wonderful diversity of humans. We don’t all learn the same way; we don’t all find courage, our motivation, or fear in the same things, the same ways, the same circumstances! Many years ago I was curious to hear that there was a professor at the U of Oregon who taught that there were 16 ways of learning. At the time — back there in the days of limited knowledge — like in the 1980’s — I thought how great. Now I think there are probably more than 16 ways, but I’m not going to argue with some Ph.D. But I will rejoice in the different ways of humans.
One of the powerful messages that I personally took from the movie is how hard it is to rise up when you’ve been beaten down, beaten down for a long, long, time. I know that I have lived a privileged life; and self-esteem has never been a big problem for me. But then I’ve not been a female, and I’ve never been dirt-poor, and I’ve never been a minority; so I have no idea how other people in other circumstances cope with the realities of life in the U.S.. And I have no right to tell them how to live. So I don’t, I won’t, and I’m not even in contact with very many folks who live that way.
That said, I know that there are folks who go through such things among us as full time RV’ers. I’ve seen them in public campgrounds around the country. Last summer we had numerous folks like that at the campground; folks at the end of their rope, folks struggling for themselves and for their families/children. Chess doesn’t solve every problem. The optimist in me wants to say that there’s a solution for every problem — I really believe that. But I also know that I’m not the person to tell someone else how to find their ‘chess’ — whatever it is that will help them find their way in life.
There are folks like the Jimmy Carter’s who have found their ways of helping. There are some things each of us can do to help — like the chess teacher in this movie. But in the end success or failure depends on the individual; on realizing in their heart that “challenges are not a curse.”
And there is the reality that while we see one young girl reach for the stars and achieve greatness, the fact remains that many in her home town know no difference in their lives; they are happy for a friend, but they, themselves, have not succeeded in the same way. Perhaps that is the greatest challenge of humanity today. How do we help the community on to greatness, instead of individuals? There is a challenge. There is a challenge that is not a curse!
Thanks for stopping, and I’ll be here again tomorrow. Why not stop by and say HI!