Tears Just Flowed
My tears just flowed as I read the Tibetan students’ stories in The Book of Joy. The Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmund Tutu were visiting the Tibetan Children’s Village in India where the Dalai Lama had established a school for Tibetan refugee children so that they would not forget their rich heritage and the Buddhist religion along with the normal school lessons. They were not living with their families; they had been smuggled out of Tibet after the Chinese had conquered their country:
“They had written about their own wrenching journeys from their families in Tibet, often as young as five. Many had traveled for weeks with family members over the snow-covered passes out of Tibet…Because an education based in the Tibetan language and culture is suppressed or severely restricted in many parts of the country, their parents, often poor and illiterate farmers themselves, had sent their children to be educated by the Dalai Lama. After delivering them safely, the family members or guides needed to return to Tibet. Often these children would not get to see their families again until they were adults, if ever.”
I could not believe the suffering that just leaped off the page as I read each story reported in the book. My tears were for the children, although well cared for at the school, still they were separated for years from their families. I also cried for the families who were without their children, although they had done the best thing they could for them, still they would bear the pain of their suffering for a lifetime.
I vowed right away to stop complaining about anything in my life! Knowing about these children and their families and huge numbers of other children and their families throughout the world who are also oppressed or separated from their families, I vow to live in absolute gratitude for all that I have and to pray for all the world’s oppressed, including those here in the United States of America, who do not deserve one thing that has been done to them. All this happened so that someone else can be rich and rule with an iron fist and abuse anyone so that he or she gets the power and wealth they covet.
How can we of means in this free country complain about what we don’t have when so many in this world have nothing or next to nothing? And what are we going to do about the poor in our country? Judge them for not working their way out of poverty? or help them realize the dreams that they have for themselves and their familes?
 Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, (New York: Avery an imprint of Penguin Random House) 2016, p. 278