It’s funny. You don’t know when or where they’re going to happen but they do. And life is full of them. Moments that change us forever. For better or for worse.
One life changing moment happened 16 years ago when I was travelling in Indonesia. I was in a small village called Ubud in Bali and travelling on my own. All the events of the day escape me, except for one. It was nighttime and I was walking in the village full of dirty stray dogs of all shapes and sizes.
In the distance I noticed a dog sitting by the roadside which, in and of itself, would not have been strange. But there was something different about this dog that my eyes couldn’t quite make out. I squinted and stared as I got closer. It appeared as though it was wearing a knit cap, which of course made no sense.
When I was close enough to know what it was I was seeing, I was witnessing something I could never have imagined. The dog had been hit by a car, I can only assume. It was seriously hurt but completely alert. What I was seeing was in fact the dog’s brain – its skull broken from what must have been a serious blow to the head.
No one flinched. No one stopped. And certainly no one helped. Powerless to do anything and realizing that to do so would not be welcome nor possible, I knew I was a million miles from home.
My travels have enriched me in ways that are difficult to express. Suffice it to say that this experience reminded me of the great fortune I have to live where I do. Not everyone is as lucky. They have not asked for their circumstance. So when I think I’m having a bad day, I think back on that moment and the environment that makes it go unnoticed.
I noticed. I remember. And I am so very fortunate.