"If wishes were horses, beggars might ride."
- English Proverbs
John Ray, 1670
This week's Sunday Scribblings theme is the age-old tale from the Arabian Nights, fairytales and folklore; of genies and magic lamps and three wishes granted. What would you choose if you had three wishes?
If I had three wishes, my first would be for our planet: I'd wish that we had world leaders with courage: courage to listen, then to act. World leaders with backbone and integrity who would sit down and have face-to-face conversations; world leaders of strength and conviction, who would not hide behind empty words, tired rhetoric and threats of war while gleefully counting corporate profits or at the opposite end of the spectrum, trying to hijack the religion of Islam for political purposes. As Bruce Springsteen's song suggests, "Better ask questions before you shoot."
World leaders who would try to preserve our environment, rather than cavalierly handing over our precious natural resources in the name of big oil and corporate greed. World leaders who would care that our children, our children's children and all those who follow will have to grapple with the consequences of casual and often irreversible choices they're making now. World leaders who would value our children and provide good educational opportunities - including art, music and languages - for all, not just the privileged few.
World leaders who would act responsibly, with compassion, tolerance and understanding; world leaders who would know what it is to walk in another's shoes. World leaders who would spend their time not by reinforcing the bulging pockets of their wealthy friends, but by working to eradicate poverty and make sure no person goes hungry or sleeps without shelter. World leaders who would help every human being get proper medical care and attention.
World leaders who - like the late King Hussein of Jordan - would treat everyone equally with dignity and respect - pauper and king alike. World leaders like King Hussein and Israel's Yitzhak Rabin, who came to the realisation that if we don't learn to live together, we will all die together. World leaders who would know that our similarities are greater than our differences.
"Oh East is East and West is West
and never the twain shall meet,
'Til Earth and Sky stand presently
at God's great Judgment Seat;
"But there is neither East nor West,
nor border, nor breed, nor birth.
When two strong men stand face to face,
though they come from the ends of the earth."
- The Ballad of East and West
Rudyard Kipling, 1889
My second wish would be that my daughter's life is filled with joy and possibility. And in her adventurous life, I hope that she keeps her unique sense of humour and maintains confidence in herself and in her talents and abilities. I hope she finds a deserving man to love her and share her life and that they have healthy children together. I hope that as she faces fortune's whims, she remembers that she is strong and resilient and able to handle any situation.
I hope she takes comfort in knowing that she has the unwavering love and trust of her parents and the true friendship and admiration of many others; that a supportive network is always available when she needs it. I hope that in moments of darkness and doubt - moments when she cries into her pillow at night, she will remember that life is a precious gift; that despite all its challenges, life is rich. And she has wings to fly.
"Life is mostly froth and bubble;
Two things stand like stone:
kindness in another's troubles;
courage in your own."
- Adam Lindsay Gordon, 1833-1870
My third wish would be for time and good health to enjoy it. For more time to do the things I haven't done yet; for time to see my daughter's life blossom, as she fills it with love and work; for time to see many of her dreams come true; time to see her faith in herself strengthen. For time to watch a grandchild grow; for time to spend with my stepdaughter; for more time with my husband.
For time to write the books still unwritten; sing the songs still unsung. For time to visit places unknown and renew acquaintance with old favourites. For time with friends old and new. For time to help those less fortunate or those perhaps needing a little push. For time to make a difference, however small it might seem in the grand scheme of things.
For time to see the world begin to heal from years of carelessness and neglect; for time to witness positive changes in the lives of those suffering the most. For time to watch a brighter future unfold for the next generation.
For time to be thankful for the many adventures and opportunities that have come my way and the wonderful people who have crossed my path; for time to be grateful for the many blessings I've been given.
For time to drink champagne, dance with abandon and laugh until I cry with the man I love - le plasir sans consequence!
If wishes were horses...