When I began this year, I thought of the symbolism of “13” meaning “yours” in Punjabi. I dedicated my year to God and summer was no exception.
This summer I have been fortunate to travel the world and count my blessings, while contributing to social change in England and abroad. In truth I’ve done little but seen lots… What I’ve learnt is more important than the activities.
I’ve learnt that you should trust that whatever God does, He does for the best & the lessons that you encounter you would never imagine learning otherwise.
If it wasn’t for God I never would have travelled to Kenya or Uganda. I never would have met individuals who spend every day of their lives helping children learn to deal with HIV. I never would have acknowledged the harsh reality of what growing up without parents might entail, or how much we take technology & electricity for granted.
I would love to return there and do whatever little I can, to help those less fortunate than me.
At the same time, I was fortunate to help closer to home, with the volunteer-led building of Nishkam School West London. A new multi-faith, values led, free school. The school is an expansion of the Nishkam School Trust in Birmingham & is set on creating good human beings who live a life of value whilst gaining academic success.
Seeing a community of volunteers dedicate their evenings, weekends and in some cases sacrifice paid work to make this vision a reality, was an honour & I know the children will gain a lot from it.
I’m a believer in hope & through engagement with my community, my global family & my faith, my hope has strengthened. Only through positive social engagement and participation have I noticed a change in not only my views, but the views of people who otherwise were unaware of the change they could make.
I believe in love, forgiveness, compassion & humility, and I believe that in the world we live in, these are the hardest virtues to live out, despite being the most powerful. If we fight hate with hate, we’ll never blossom. Yet love & compassion for our global family can not only help us blossom but can help all those around us feel uplifted too.
I’m a work in progress which is nowhere near complete, but I know that it is only by leaving my bubble that I have gained insight into a world I never would have otherwise envisioned. I hope one day to become a stronger individual, able to assist whoever may need it. I don’t want children to feel helpless and alone when so many of us are here to help.
As I prepare to return to uni, I know that over my 12 months of reflection I have learnt:
Everything happens for a reason.
You may not see it, you may not understand it & you may question it… but eventually you will be thankful for it.
You will have days when you can’t see where you will end up, but those days are the days that bring the most joy & teach you the most about life.
You will have days when you wish you could turn back time, but living in the past will never help you get anything out of life.
You will have days when the world is stretching you thin, but embrace a power from above and you will know you’re being held tightly together.
You will have days you feel all alone & empty because you’re keeping your eyes closed to the truth…
the truth that there is more love & support than you can fathom & all you need to do is believe.
But whatever the day, you just need to smile and continue, because one day you’ll look back and understand why everything is the way it is.
I look forward to beginning a new chapter in my life, knowing how much I’ve learnt from the last. I never want to forget how important the characteristics of love, forgiveness, humility & compassion are to embrace… I hope I can keep them close as life continues to send challenges my way.