Friday, February 11, 2011
By definition an epiphany is:
(1) a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.
Even by definition warns it will strike you. My epiphany was a word, one we hear and associate with entitlement, honor or something special. The word was privilege.
Yesterday while waiting for Ms. Twisters Lexus to be repaired I sat in the café. To customers everything there was free; Danishes, bagels, drinks and yes, chili. A privilege, a perk and a slap in the face. An epiphany that slapped me so hard I about choked on the free root beer.
Not a mile down the road is an assisted living community, another privilege, another slap in the face. A privileged place where families put a loved one and assume all is well. It is their privilege to be served surprise meat with brown gravy and do not speak out in fear of retribution.
Two miles down the road is a school, a privilege and a slap. A place where being yourself now days is not an option. It is the different child's privilege to attend and be bullied into suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.
Three miles down the road is our unemployment office and the local homeless shelter, a privilege? Oh, let me slap you. Of course you are privileged to have a place in line so we can make you feel like toilet paper stuck to our shoes.
The homeless shelter, for sure it is a privilege. Is it not a privilege to have others look upon you as an alcoholic, a drug user or a criminal? No one needs to assume you are in the line above, lost your home, your family and all self-respect, where is the privilege in that?
Can you see my epiphany yet? We traveled just three miles in my fair city and guided you through just a sampling of these so-called privileges. We as a society have begun to re-write the definition of the word privilege.
It is a true privilege to live in a place where such amenities are offered, it is not a privilege to assume those receiving these amenities feel it as such. The true privilege here is we have the ability to change.
We can change our perception that someone in assisted living is having a ball. That they love eating surprise meat with brown gravy and do not want to be bothered with your phone call. This our perception not theirs.
We can change the perception that our children, unemployed and homeless feel privileged at this particular moment. Being bullied, belittle and believed to be beyond hope is not a privilege. These are ugly stigmas of reality.
This weekend think twice before you use the word privilege. Put yourself in the shoes you think should feel privileged and ask, “Is this truly a privilege?” What is your definition of the word privilege?
For me it is having blog friends like you. Thank you to everyone who is helping spread the blog love. Now if it were only that easy in the real world.