Wednesday, 14 June 2006

So, am I lucky or what?

I didn’t think to ask Sal yesterday how she knows I’m so lucky. I’d love her, if she revisits, to tell me – in fact, please, anyone who reads this, am I lucky and why? Or do you perceive me as privileged, and is that the same thing?

I was chatting to a friend yesterday. She and her husband were farmers; they had inherited a small family farm. Sadly, the double blow of swine fever and foot and mouth disease in the country, though not on their farm, left them bankrupt and they lost the farm.
He got a job, but died suddenly last year leaving her widowed with three teenage daughters.
I found out in conversation last night that she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, which first flared up in pregnancy, and left her nearly crippled for a time, with three infants.
“I’m so lucky though,” she said. “My family have always been so supportive, and the girls have been wonderful in this past year.”

I know a family in the village: there are four children, all of whom have learning difficulties, one with severe mental and some physical disabilities. They have a reputation, the children, as being a bit thick with short fuses (I report this reputation, I do not say I subscribe to it). But I admire this family more than almost anyone I know. Both parents have jobs, taken on at a time when they could have received about as much in benefits as they earned; they have worked incredibly hard and after about 20 years of marriage, you can see the affection they still have for each other. As a family, they all pull together and are protective of each other. The oldest girl is at college, and has nearly a 12-hour day, getting there and back on foot and by bus. They buy loads of fresh, cheap vegetables, so evidently eat as well as they can. I think they would call themselves lucky too, but to an outsider they would seem to have laboured under adversity.

3 comments:

PI said...

I think perhaps it is OK to comment on one's own luck - whether one considers one is lucky or not but not OK to comment on others. Because, as you point out, you have to know the whole deal and we rarely do.
By the same token i think it is fruitless to envy anyone for a particular asset. It has to be the whole deal. If you see what I mean.

badgerdaddy said...

I'm often told how lucky I am in all aspects of my life. I always find that odd - it is what it is, and luck is all down to perspective. I think of it like a swan on water. Calm on top, going like a loon underneath.

Which reminds me, I want to share two of my favourite sayings, which your post made me think of.

"Life's a cow, then you realise you have a milk allergy."

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like buggery."

Both are from ex-girlfriends, two of the funniest women I ever met.

Z said...

Pat - it's how you deal with it, and who your friends are, isn't it. Personally, I do consider myself lucky, but not for 'external' (or should that be 'visible') reasons.

bd -"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like buggery." oh god, that's how I've lived my life, it's the funniest thing I've heard for ages.
How did you let those girls go? A woman (or man, in my case *smirk*) who makes you laugh? - marry, my friend, get her in the pudding club to give her an incentive, and marry her.
Not that I'm matchmaking or anything.