Embracing Uncertainty #2: Bringing in the New Baby
I was really struck by something the other day. Sen. Obama, the U.S. presidential candidate, was in Europe proclaiming that he was a world citizen, that there is a huge need for cooperation if we are to solve the issues of the day, and that he wanted to work together with others. When I read the article on the CNN website, it started out in this positive vain, but then the report changed the focus from him attempting to promote cooperation ( a value that everything single teacher in the whole world starts to work on in day one of a child’s schooling) to reporting about how the other candidate didn’t think that he had enough experience and that his speech was just campaigning. So I asked myself why would CNN change something that everyone wants and promotes to trying to make it seem like Obama was full of self-interest. The only answer I can really come up with is that CNN and other news outlets have already decided that it is the presidential race that makes money so therefore, it is more newsworthy. They are not interested in global cooperation, they are simply interested in making a lot of money in the guise of reporting the news. It also lets me know that when I attempt to go for a really positive end in the world today that the biggest obstacle seems to be self-interest in the guise of something else like fair reporting. I don’t really see news agencies interested in the truth, but they seem to be able to pretend like they are. I think that they have pretty much decided that the truth is not going to make them a lot of money so they focus on what will make them money and then make it news and then call it the truth.
This posting is not meant to be a blasting of CNN, although it is easy enough to do, but rather on the dynamic of why it is so difficult for new ideas to be brought into the world. Well, something really wonderful happened to me since I started writing this post. My fourth grandson, Will Shoghi Heins-Hastings was brought into the world on July 24th shortly after 10 pm in Vancouver. I have been overseas for the birth of my other three grandchildren, but during this birth I was with my daughter, Juliet, during some of her early contractions and drove her and Shane, her husband, to the hospital for the delivery. Juliet has a special way of describing her life experiences that seems to be able to capture an entire experience in a few words. After having spent more than two hours in the last phase of labour with extremely intense contractions that were on for 45 seconds to a minute and then off for 30 seconds and then back on again, worrying that she may not be able to have a natural birth because her first child was a c-section, and being somewhat anemic during the last phases of her pregnancy, she told Shane that she had felt like she had just been through all of the Navy Seals training regime in two hours. After the delivery, when our whole family was there in her hospital room, you could see how wonderful she felt despite the pain. The only thing that comes close for me has been running a marathon, but it whithers in comparison to what she just had accomplished. At the end of the marathon you feel a great deal of satisfaction and a great deal of pain, but you don’t have a magical new soul at the end. Juliet brought this wonderful new being into the world after having carried it for over nine months.
I couldn’t get enough time with Will during the brief week that I had with him before having to return to Malaysia for work. I am sure that I will have lots of adventures with him in the future, God willing, but those moments shortly after his transition from the womb into this world, have been quite unmatched. I feel so fortunate to have been there. Will is now completely dependent upon others for his new life. His mother and father will spend endless sleepless hours with him so that his own will can be galvanized into a life that will be beneficial to the human race.
When I grew up in southern California, I never dreamed that I my national identity would be anything other than American, but gradually my life changed. When I moved to Canada in 1983, I learned to be a Canadian. Now I love Canada. And when I moved to Brazil in 1998, they almost always referred to me as estranjeiro (foreigner), but in my heart I became a Brazilian. There is absolutely no question for me that Brazil is my home. The government doesn’t recognize me as a citizen of Brazil and most of its people will not consider me Brazilian, but I am. And now I live in a new country, Malaysia. I have been here for three years. Before moving to Asia, I had no desire to be here. I wanted to stay in Latin America, but God seemed to have other ideas for me. I didn’t realize how much I loved my new country until I reached Tokyo on the return trip from Vancouver. When we boarded the plane from Tokyo to Singapore, there were a lot more familiar people in the boarding area. By that I mean Malaysians and Singaporeans and by the time we arrived in the Singapore airport, I just felt so relaxed and at home again. Am I really becoming a world citizen as Sen. Obama is encouraging me to be?
Giving birth to a new identity as a world citizen is not an easy transition, but I know now that when people ask me where I am from, it is not an easy answer anymore. I use each one freely, but I still haven’t used the identity as world citizen yet. When will it come? Well I am no so sure that CNN is ready for Americans to change to make a transition from strictly national to a more global identity. I don’t think they see it as financially viable yet, but some Americans, even presidential candidates, are warming up to world citizenship and giving birth to its possibilities.
I am sure that Will will have no issues with calling himself a world citizen because the world he has been born into in 2008 is much smaller than the one I was born into more than a half century ago. It is only going to get smaller and more connected. That is a certainty. The animosities and rivalries and conflicts that CNN revels in are all fading one generation after another. Who would have imagined in the late 1960s during the height of the cultural revolution in China that they would one day be inviting the whole world to its doorstep, but it has happened right before our eyes.
Embracing a new idea like world citizenship brings with it a great deal of uncertainty. What will happen to my job, to my social security, to my benefits if we are all members of the same country, earth? Well, one thing is certain for me. The earth is my neighborhood and my new grandson, Will, and I are going to get to know as many of our neighbors and do as many adventures as we possible can. I hope you are ready Will and I hope to meet all of you along the way.