by Nadia Ramoutar, MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 07.08.2023
Recently, my life took me in two different directions and I found myself spending time in two very different towns. In one town, the people on the surface appeared to have very little but were rich in spirit. They didn’t all have running water or electricity and many had concrete floors and walls. They didn’t have many cars and many people walked everywhere. There was not much food, but people were very generous with what they did have. There was a lot of joy in being greeted by these people. There was singing and dancing. People clapped with delight to meet me and to welcome me over and over again.
In the other town things were almost opposite.
The people had a lot of symbols of wealth. They had very big cars on very nice roads. There homes are large and they are filled with massive televisions and cupboards and fridges overfilling with food. They have air conditioning everywhere in homes, cars, and shops. They are cutting down trees like crazy to build more and more roads, houses, and shops. They are very busy and unable to stop and acknowledge one another kindly. No one sings or dances. People are often rude and rushing. They do not look fondly at strangers but with caution. Many are struggling with anxiety and seem unable to enjoy their many treasures.
Being in two such different places made me question reality.
Perhaps this is a good thing for me to do. What is wealth? What makes people happy? Why are some people so miserable and rude even though they have so much accumulated in their life?
After much reflection, I realised that the real difference is not what it appears to be. When you strip away the appearances of things and look at what might be going on under the surface much of all this comes down to one thing: gratitude.
In the town where people seem to have so little in terms of material wealth, they are so grateful for what they do have in their life. They have not expected to have more than this perhaps. In the place where there is much material wealth, they expect to have even more. In their expectation, we see the suffering. The perceived “lack” is not only my perception because in the first town, the children really do need resources and essential things like food and medical care. I witnessed first-hand the amount of gratitude children and adults show when receiving gifts of education, health, self-reliance and empowerment.
The experience that really separates the two towns is gratitude.
When the MMM Sisters go out to start a mission, they do not assume what the local people need. They go to remote areas where no one else will provide these resources. In doing so, they listen to the people and what is most important. Sometimes it is water, or a clinic or natural therapies. They find out what will lift the people up and what will serve them. They do not assume to know based on what they see. This is why the people where the MMM Missions are feel so much in partnership with our efforts. We have not make assumptions based on our cultures. In receiving the services, the people feel empowered, which is much more important than being helped.
In gratitude, we are rich in spirit.