Wishing each and every one of you and your family a very Happy Diwali, whether you are at sea or on shore; full of light, joy and happiness forever and always.
Diwali is a time for us to reflect upon the year gone and look forward with positivity and anticipation to the year ahead and new beginnings. This year has been the hardest many of us have ever faced yet the most real of them all. A year in which we have all been united due to one reason and exposed to the staggering truths that surround us each and every day. Truths, reality, that somehow many of us have neglected or paid little attention to; teaching each and every one of us a lessson.
It has been a year full of so much hurt, grief and suffering that we have either witnessed or experienced. Either directly as a consequence of the pandemic, or indirectly through personal struggles being heightened by lockdown restrictions. We have all been exposed to the confusion, media overload, panic, misinformation and our freedom which we all take for granted being taken away from us. But most of all it has been an awakening for us like no other, we have been shown and forced to take note of how precious life is and the plight of the world and those around us.
Today and its meaning is a good example and reminder of what life is truly about and the part we all play. The true meaning of Diwali shows us that light always triumphs over the darkness, and good over evil. We only have to look around us to see that this is happening on a grander scale than ever before. The world has not given in to this pandemic. Instead we have accepted our situation, opened our eyes to everything around us and used our time and initiative to fight. Whether that be by following rules and orders to protect ourselves and our loved ones, or by ensuring those in our communities whom are most vulnerable are safe and cared for. We have been working together for causes and the greater good.
Seafarer families are a perfect example of this. We have faced being separated from our loved ones for much longer than any of us anticipated with a fear of not knowing when they would ever be home again. I vividly remember the sign on day and starting my countdown of the days until he would be home, yet that day came and went. Like many of you the mental impact and exhaustion on us was unlike any other contract we have known, and when I say that previous contracts involving pirate zones and severe storms were an ease compared to what has been thrown at us this year, it just shows the severity of the situation. A situation made even worse by how the whole world seemingly forgot about our seafarers. They are our men, our husbands or wives, mother’s and father’s to our children, our soulmates and in no circumstance could we ever forget about them.
We had to champion for our Seafarers who were stranded and stuck at sea. Spreading awareness of their plight and the situations that many never knew existed and making sure people listened and understood that Seafarers wellbeing is just as important as getting a ship from A to B – all whilst garnering the most internal strength we possibly could to get them through their contract, because that is what we do.
But this is not just about doing good. We must take the lessons learned and change ourselves to be good. As mentioned above the staggering truth is that we are guilty of making our lives and this world more complicated and hurtful than it ought to be. The simple life we have experienced during lockdown really highlights how many have had their priorities misplaced all their lives.
We hurt those around us intentionally or unintentionally without a care in the world due to greed and ignorance. We are too busy and caught up in our own lives to notice what is happening around us to those whom are already suffering knowingly or in silence. We are too quick to judge and pass criticism without having the audacity to look at our own behaviour and criticise ourselves. We are careless with words and actions, too busy talking and not taking the time to actually listen. Taking not only things but also people for granted, which only inflicts further pain, hurt, loneliness and insecurity on those around us. Many only see life for personal gain.
A seafarers family though has already observed the true world and does not take life or people for granted like we observe others do. We appreciate the small things, such as a phonecall or our husbands being on dry land at home or in port giving us a small break from worry, and that one single tick turning to two and then finally appearing blue! We radiate kindness, instinctively putting others first, being there and making sacrifices. We understand our priorities and what truly matters, the world is just catching up with us.
But that doesn’t mean we have no growth left in us. Each and every one of us can continue to make a difference and set examples for the greater good, as a famous man once said “be the change you wish to see in the world”. Whether the world does follow suit or not, at least you are living with integrity, honesty, and being an example to others.
Enjoy every single moment you have with your loved ones. Tell them how much they mean to you, love them with all your might, hug them tighter than ever before, forgive, laugh, celebrate festivals and include them even if they are at sea, and never waste time that you could be spending with them. You never know when you will get that time again, life passes us all by in an instant.
This is our time to reset, our time to be and do good