4th November 2021
HOM: Applying past knowledge to new situations
‘Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.’
(A. P. J. Abdul Kalam)
On the virtue of sacrifice Alain de Botton writes: ‘We’re hardwired to seek our own advantage but also have a miraculous ability, very occasionally, to forego our own satisfactions in the name of someone or something else. We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice.’
That last point particularly resonated with me as world leaders have met in Glasgow over the past week for the United Nations Climate Change conference.
We can make immense inroads into the damage caused by climate change if we choose to act now, but not without a degree of sacrifice personally and nationally, in order to ensure the future of our planet, biodiversity and ‘so that our children can have a better tomorrow’.
And all things worth doing involve sacrifice, the sacrifice of the choice we did not take, in order to pursue another particular path.
I recently read an interesting novel by Matt Haigh called ‘The Midnight Library’ in which the protagonist who is depressed, is offered a library of books charting the lives she might have lived, had she chosen differently at particular times in her life. She had long wondered ‘what if…’ she’d taken one path over another and imagined things would have turned out much better. Not so. Each life involved compromises and sacrifices, leading her to appreciate the life she had. Yes it had involved for example the sacrifice of some of her ambitions, but she had gained in other ways which would have been lost had she chosen differently.
Sacrifice is also much on our minds this week as we prepare to mark Armistice Day, the day on which World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. At Wychwood we will observe the two minutes silence and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy a better tomorrow…our today.
Finally a poem from Nikita Gill which implores us to be strong, and proud and loud, in honour of those who went before us, because without them we would not be here.
I Am My Ancestor’s Dream
by Nikita Gill
Your ancestors did not survive
Everything that nearly ended them
For you to shrink yourself
To make someone else
This sacrifice is your warcry,
And make them proud.