Pronunciation: /rem-uh-nis-uh ns/
“I’ve been, Thinking reminiscent, Of the nice and better days, Hiding in the refuge, Of memories I made” – Simon Webbe
While sitting on a toilet I often have great ideas, epiphanies, or I come up with around 73 different ways of getting painful revenge against someone that’s not even worth thinking about.
This morning I used the toilet after having taken a shower and I sat there and saw the wet towels I neatly draped over the laundry basket (so they can dry a bit). And then it hit me. Out of nowhere came this one sentence from my childhood: Wat ben IK goed terechtgekomen! (“How I ended up very well!” – with an emphasis on “I”).
The school I went to as a young kid was officially a Catholic one and every so often we would have Bible class. When I was twelve, during one of those lessons we all received a colouring page, featuring a drawn picture of The Netherlands, with on top of it a person and the words How I ended up very well. After making us colour the page, our teacher proceeded by asking us what we thought the sentence meant.
It meant that we could have been born anywhere in the world, but we came to life in a country that wasn’t at war, that’s not poor and that’s not doing all that bad in general. In other words: we could have ended up a lot worse, had the odds been against us. In other words: be grateful for where you are and for what you’ve been given. Not everyone in life is that lucky.
This whole scene popped back into my mind as I was sitting there, gazing at my wet towels. I realized that not everyone in the world can take a shower whenever they want to. Heck, some people don’t even have a shower! Or clean water! Or wet towels to dry themselves off with!
Or a toilet to sit on and reminisce (or think of 73 violent ways of getting revenge at someone who’s not even worth thinking about – Ooh! make that 74).
I guess I am lucky. If I want something to eat, I open a cupboard and grab a snack. Or I take out some pots and pans and cook myself a meal. And if there’s nothing to cook or grab, I can go to the store and buy whatever I want.
I had the liberty to go to school, to college even, and to work. I have the right, an official, written-in-the-law-right, to marry whoever I want. And if I don’t want to marry at all, then I don’t have to.
According to my country’s law, my rights as a woman are equal to those of men. There’s a lot of countries out there that don’t feel the same (although we do have a so-called “glass ceiling”, but in general I’d be allowed to do whatever a man’s allowed to do).
So yes, I did end up pretty well. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what luck we’ve had by entering this world in the places we did, while there’s so many other places left where people aren’t so lucky. Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate all the small things we have or can do, because we’ve been brought up with them and for us it’s nothing but normal to have them at hand.
But every so often I think back to the lessons I learned when I was a child. Lessons that didn’t seem too important then, but sometimes all you need to realize the deeper meaning from a simple colouring page is time.
And a toilet and some wet towels, maybe.