Skip to main content

I am an accident of my birth.


There was nothing I did to be born into the family, the country, the culture, or the time in history that were mine when I entered this world.  Nothing I did to earn it or deserve it one way or another.  There was nothing my parents did to come into this world as who they were.  Yes, they worked hard once they were here.  Faced challenges.  Did well with what they were given to start with.

There was nothing they did to deserve perfect, gifted children or imperfect, below normal children.  They got what they got.

Me, too.  I didn’t win some birth lottery.  I didn’t choose America.  I didn’t choose my race or my family or my anything.  It just was.  It was where I came in.

So why, in my wildest thinking, could I ever place myself above or even below anyone else?  Why would I think I deserve the freedoms and advantages and opportunities I have been given on a silver platter?  I did nothing to deserve them.  Nothing.  It was where I came in.

I look around the world and wonder, in wonder.  What makes me think I’m any different from the woman in Central America who struggles for a living?  What makes me think I’m any different from those family members fleeing for their lives.  Did they have a choice?  Did they choose to be born into a country, a culture, a family, a situation that would make every day a struggle for survival?

I don’t think so.

This is not an essay on our obligations, our duty, our anything.  It’s simply a wondering out loud this question of rights and privileges and higher and lower when there’s nothing in the world I did to earn any of it.  I simply came in where I came in.  Maybe next time around, I’ll come in in Syria or Nigeria or Russia or Mexico or Iran or rural China.  How will I feel then?  Less than, more than, better than, worse than?  I’m just wondering.