As of late I had felt so weighed down. Like the world was closing in on me. It was a bit of a pity party, where I would mutter a lot of "what if's" and "if only's" cause you know how productive those are. But then I started reading a book that I should have read a long time ago, called INFIDEL. It's by Ayann Hirsi Ali.
I'd picked it up a few times and I'd started it, but I'd never gotten further than a few chapters in to it. All of a sudden it was calling my name. My kind sister in law Karen had given me this book for a gift a while back, and I have to say, she must have been inspired.
The book is about Ayaan's life growing up as a Muslim girl in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. It is shockingly honest and open about the trials of her life. And as I am reading it every night, unable to put it down, constantly I am thinking in the back of my mind, "I am empowered." This woman came across struggles and situations that I can not even dream of, and she conquered them.
She rose above her oppression and the systems of inequality to be a voice for the voiceless. She was intimidated, and beaten, yet she followed her north star and tried to live her authentic life. Constantly as I've been reading this book I've been saying prayers of gratitude under my breath for the freedoms and liberties that I have enjoyed and taken for granted through out my life.
Is America perfect? No. Is our system of Democracy perfect? No. Is there absolute equality and justice for all races, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and classes of people? No. But I can't get bogged down by the imperfection, when there is so much to celebrate. It doesn't mean that I should turn a blind eye to the issues that are important to me. But it does mean that I can look at the issues with some perspective, and see that there has been progress, and much more progress can still be made.
I really think that it was true what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice." I have faith in that. I have faith in part because of people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. If she can be strong and courageous without losing hope, then so can I.