Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Jakarta rubbish collectors


I went walking through the streets of Jakarta at 5.30 a.m. this morning and saw many of the rubbish collectors pulling their heavy carts through the narrow back streets. Their job is dangerous and dirty as they collect rubbish and soil. I frequently exchange greetings with the collectors and often get a smile in return. At risk from being hit or squashed by cars, trucks or motorbikes in narrow lanes, and exposed to dirt and disease, they do their work with dignity and poise.

As I walked I tried to connect my life to theirs and fathom the hardships they endure. I thought of the poem called the Invitation, which inspired Oriah Mountain Dreamer, native American Elder, May 1994, and it helped me in my thoughts.



It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic or to remember the limitations of being a human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even if it’s not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from God’s presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver moon, ‘Yes!’
It doesn’t interest me where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary, bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with who you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself; and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

The Invitation, inspired by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, native American Elder, May 1994.

5 comments:

miami computer rental said...

you've made me cry, I think all this is a reality that not all the people see and the awful truth is that little boys and girls also are exposed to all kind of deseases... and nobody helps them out

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