The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture


Below a poem I've published on nexus. It was written recently a couple of years ago but is based on unforgettable experience shared with me by a senior nurse in an elderly medicine ward in Lancashire where I worked as trainee in general medicine.

Often we as humans allow our view of life to be informed by life experiences. Unavoidably we have limits and if we’re honest, we can also develop prejudices. Unconscious biases are the norm. 

As someone who is classified as a ‘third culture’ person, I’m often amazed by how set in their ways people often are. Many are unwilling, or unable to make even the smallest of changes to their preferences to accommodate another person, be they workmate or neighbour. The commonality we have as humans is threatened by fear, prejudice and pride, especially when we believe that there’s little of value in another culture.

We each have opportunities to see people and events with eyes of compassion and wonder – like a child’s. The opportunities are endless, but we could also chose to become ‘comfortably numb’ because the problems faced by people we encounter, seem overwhelming. The challenges to growth may seem too great. There can be language barriers. We can miss many opportunities to be enriched from seeing others through fresh eyes. On the other hand, taking even small steps in the right direction can bring immeasurable richness into our lives. 
While based in Addis Ababa we once opened our home to some homeless girls: it was lovely to see life through these young people’s eyes – never has a jig-zaw puzzle been such a source of wonder, and it is a memory that we still carry in our hearts.
  Justice- The Bigger Picture

Have I the guts to speak out for voices unheard
     oppressed, unrepresented, ignored?
Can I secede from earthly rules that burden the poor? 
     that threaten, prejudice, suppress and ignore?
Do I fall into line under systems that rule above us all?
Can I hear the call to work towards peace and provide for real needs?
Love calls. ‘Don’t cling to things,’ She implores me to share. 
Will I answer loves call ?
     or will temptation and the treadmill compete?
There’s plenty in the fertile ground of the poor
     but it’s taken by greed for rich seams, and for seed. 
There’s harvests galore and precious elements are mined
    but little is gained despite the high price. 
With blood sweat and tears many fall and they die
While peoples in rich nations can claim: 
    ‘we’re smarter, we earned it all.’ 
Most of the world follows a beast
     who dresses selfishness up as need 

 Back in the year nought he offered the world to the King of us all. 
The beast craves worship, the true king’s opposed 
    but thank God my King resisted that claim
The beast still beckons, seduces, enslaves
    with riches, honours, power and fame. 
“Go to war!” his followers cry
“Cover my back, think of all the gain!”
I could adopt this style and have it all
     but didn’t he lie about this before?

Biblical Imagery: 

Proverbs 13: 23 Isaiah 58:4-8 Daniel 7:23, Revelation 13:1-6, 11-15, 16-18, Matthew 4: 9, Micah 6: 8

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