“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”~
Do you ever spend any time thinking about what brought you to this point right here right now? There is something very beautiful about the randomness that ensured that a particular set of chromosomes combined with another set of chromosomes to produce the person you see when you look in the mirror. Some people believe in fate, others in destiny, but now that you are here, what are you doing with your special talents?
If you knew the sacrifices that had been made for your DNA to make it to this point in time, would you live any differently? If you were personally aware of the stories of your forebears, would it change the decisions you were making? Some people are able to track their ancestors back many generations to get amazing details of their forefathers. For others, due to the horrendous inhumanity of man towards man, the trail goes cold. History is full of the stories of the conquerors, less of the tales of the oppressed.
Do you have to know your own particular story to appreciate your uniqueness, and to make sure that you live that gratitude? There are people who are unable to obtain information about their immediate past. There was a physician in Miami fifty years ago who used to arrange private illegal adoptions. No information was recorded about the birth parents; all records of the birth were destroyed. The adopted children may never know their true heritage, apart from the DNA evidence that can give them an idea of the area of the world their ancestors may have come from.
I have recently been reading the history of nursing. It is a history of oppression and power moves. For centuries women were the healers, the community leaders that everyone turned to. And then the male dominated society decided that this was bad. Women were killed for practicing their skills. More recently, even as Nightingale and others formalized nursing into a profession, the physicians and hospital administrators conspired to permit nurses very little autonomy. They became the lowly paid, overworked, handmaidens of the physicians.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Nurse Practitioners are still having to fight for the right to practice autonomously, despite their high level of education and abilities. The organized medical community is using their considerable power to prevent politicians from enacting legislation which would expand the rights of the Nurse Practitioners. Of course this is mostly about economics ($$$). And in the hospital setting you can still witness an environment where physicians do not treat nurses as equals. Ask any nurse and she (he) can tell you stories of disrespect.
Do we have a responsibility to those who went before us? We all have benefited from the work of the trade unions. They protested and obtained a decent working wage, health and life insurance benefits, working conditions that protect us to this day. How about the sacrifices made by civil rights activists? People who literally risked their lives to force change upon the nation of America. Do we owe it to them to continue the struggle, and make the most of every opportunity? Because it doesn’t take much to recognize how easily all of the opportunities can be taken away. For all the progress that has been made, one bullet can undo all of that in an instant.
We can only change the future for our children if we build on the work that has gone before. We can only bring about change for all if we fight for more than our immediate family and friends. Unless we recognize that we are all in this together, that what affects one affects all, we are doomed to keep repeating the sins of the past.
What is special in your DNA? What is unique in you that will make you stand up and accept the challenge? How can you show that you appreciate the price paid by those who went before, and stand up and be counted? It can start with one person, and that person is you!
This Friday morning I encourage you to celebrate your own uniqueness even as you recognize that we all have more in common than we are different. We stand and fall together. And if “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it” (Edmund Burke), then we need to be sure we recognize patterns and intervene to change the trajectory of history. Let us appreciate our fate, and choose our destiny!
Have a wonderful weekend, family!