Strange Marriage, part 2

I was like “Uh, Friday sounds, uh… wait, let me pray about that.”

Amazingly, that was taken as a yes, and as my heart pounded the meeting continued with a flurry of Urdu and Punjabi, interspersed with a few words of colonial English, and occasional glances in my direction.

Finally, after a few minutes, Rana turned to me and said, “Daniel, we’ll need $1700.”

(That was no problem, except I only had $400 on me.  You see, I was gonna be in Pakistan for 3 weeks, and I didn’t think anything could possibly happen, even if we decided to get married, before the first 2, at which time my next paycheck would be in the bank.  It wasn’t that I had only brought $400- I only had $400 to my name.

But…

…the day I left from Weslaco, the imam of our mosque, who was also from Pakistan, called me to his house.  He gave me $3000 to give to his brother.  You’re probably thinking terrorist funding, right?)

“OK, I’ll be right back.” 

I went back to my room in Rana’s house and did what any man in my situation would do (assuming another man has ever been in my situation):  I borrowed $1300 from my friend’s brother’s money and added it to my own.  Hey, I swore to Allah I’d put it all back as soon as I gotmy salary.  What was I gonna do, tell everyone I came all the way to Pakistan to get married with no money?  It would have made a mockery of me and my host.

The wedding was on.

There was a lot of shopping.  From the little anyone decided to translate, I gathered there were going to be several ceremonies.  For some, I was supposed to buy my own outfit, for others my future in-laws were to buy outfits for me.  And vice versa from their side.  And of course, the gold.

If you’re not from Africa or Asia, you’ve probably never seen real gold, or certainly not in any large amount.  Well, the gold bazaar in Lahore is basically a thousand or so shops that don’t sell anything under 22-carat (I’d barely seen 18-carat in the U.S.).  It’s a strange market feature of Pakistan.  Everything is sold in only one place.  Gold is sold in the gold market and nowhere else.  There is no other place in Lahore where gold can be found.  The same goes with books, paper, etc.  Vendors there must have some other way of competing.

But don’t worry about the bazaar:  you have to get there first…

And you will do that by flagging a rickshaw, negotiating the price, not agreeing, waving down the next guy, agreeing,  folding your knees till they almost pop, nearly falling out at a sharp turn because there’s no door, holding something, anything over your face to filter the smog, barely missing other vehicles and pedestrians…  There is nothing like the city streets in Pakistan.  There can’t be.  There are rickshaws which are basically a small carriage strapped to the back of a motorcycle (these used to pulled by a man on foot.)  There are carts which are bigger carriages strapped to a motorcycle, the motorcycle replacing what was previously a horse.  There are people sitting on small wooden platforms on wheels pulled by a donkey or ox.  I don’t know how they don’t fall off ‘cause those things wobble.  There are motorcycles with whole families on them, but the ladies don’t straddle- they sit with both of their legs crossed over one side while holding a baby and balancing a sandal on one toe, while the driver is weaving through traffic.  And forget helmets.  There are people on bicycles.  Wallahi, I swear to God, I even saw a guy running in traffic once.  There are a few cars, too, mostly fueled by CNG, compressed natural gas.

And there are no lanes.  By that I mean that you go into whatever space you can fit in.  When in a hurry you may cross all the way the other side of oncoming traffic to go around.  Near-miss is a way of life.  I know a Pakistani guy whose kids grew up in America.  He took them to visit once and his son, as he was standing by the road said, “Now I believe in Allah, Dad.”

 “Only now?  Why?”

“Because only Allah could keep this kind of traffic from having accidents.”

Well the roads of Lahore made a believer out of me too.

I’m a man, and therefore unlikely to have a lot about shopping that I want to talk about, so I’ll fast-forward you to Friday, the day of the wedding, or so I thought.

“Daniel!”

“Huh!”

“Wake up, you missed Jumua.”

Jetlag had gotten the better of me.  It was the day of my wedding, the biggest day of my life, wherein I was to complete half of my religion, and I had slept through Friday prayers.  Not a good sign.

Signing my life away, that's Rana to my right...

Later that night…  “Brother, get dressed.”

“I am dressed.”

“But where are your new clothes?”

“What new clothes?  I didn’t buy any clothes for today.”

“But brother, this is the nikah, wedding contract ceremony.  You can’t wear that.  You must wear something new.”

“Nobody told me.”

This happened about, I’d say, one hour before I was supposed to get married.  It was true, nobody had told me.  You see, Pakistani families are big.  People have lots of siblings, and lots of cousins, all of whom are like siblings.  When any of them get married, their in-laws become like blood relatives, all of them.  So you grow up attending all of your uncles’, aunts’, cousins’, siblings’, nephews’, nieces’ and all of their in-laws’ weddings.  By that time there’s so much you take for granted that there’s a lot you’d forget to explain in a 3-day Pakistani wedding crash course, which I was currently failing.

Somehow clothes that fit me magically appeared from the Saliim’s wardrobe, though I’m much taller than him.  Still don’t know what he was doing with those.  Alhamdulillah

So the nikah began on my in-laws’ roof.  In the shariiá, a wedding contract consists of the bride’s guardian’s consent, her consent, the groom’s consent, and four witnesses.  All the aforementioned were present, plus a few relatives, but the bride was downstairs.  They signed, I signed, then they took the contract downstairs and she signed.

Mabruuk, congratulations, you’re married, now go home.”

“When do I get to see my wife?”

it's official! that's my father-in-law on the left...

“Later, brother.”

“What?  Why?  When?”

“Just wait a few nights.”

That’s right, we got married before we had ever even seen each other.

Well, I had seen her ID photo, but you know how those turn out.  It is allowed and even recommended in Islam for potential spouses to see each other, but not in this branch of Punjabi culture.  I brought it up, and was met with a few blank stares, so I decided to let it go.

Meanwhile, Rana’s family took on the traditional role of my family.  His female relatives would visit my wife and tell me “Oh, she’s beautiful,” or, “Don’t worry, she’s gorgeous.”  That made me nervous.  I mean, why’d they have to keep telling me that?  If she looked good, she looked good, no need to repeat it a thousand times.  And why they keep sayin’ don’t worry?  I never said I was worried.  Was this some psychological trick?  Make me think something ‘til I believe it so much it changes what I see?  Yeah, like Shallow Hal?  But what happens when I snap out of it.

Believe it or not, sending me home alone wasn’t a sick form of torture.  The bride and groom shouldn’t be seen together until a public announcement of their marriage to avoid rumors that they eloped, rumors, apparently, that are hard to avoid…

Two nights later, was the Mehndi Rism, or Henna (handpaint) ceremony.  I bought a few kilos of sweets, came with an entourage, and was sat on a fancy swing on a stage- in front of a crowd of about 200.  By the way, everyone in Pakistan is Pakistani.  Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  Well, if you look at America, everyone’s an American citizen, but we’re all from different places.  In Pakistan, no one comes from any other place.  Everyone in Pakistan is from Pakistan.  Except you.  And you’re sitting on a swing on a platform in front of 200 people.

Zoos really are inhumane.

Later, finally, my mystery bride arrived in a red dress with gold embroidery.  She looked nice, except I couldn’t see her.  The veil was very big and hung over her head.  At least we got to sit together.  Relative after relative came by and put pieces of sweets into our mouths and then much-needed cash into my hand.  At one point, someone brought did 3 circles with a live chicken in front of my face.  Don’t know what that was about, but they left cash, so…

Then, someone took the money from me, told me to get up, and started escorting me home.

“Where am I going?”

“Home, brother.”

“What about yall?”

“We’re gonna stay and party.”

“Man, what?!  I wanna see my wife, maaan…”

“Just a couple more nights, brother.”

They really make you earn it.

The next ceremony was the Bharat, no idea what that translates to.  The day of, I noticed a tent being set up on my way to and from the mosque.  It was taking up Rana’s whole block.  Soon, some huge cooking pots were going.  Without telling, Rana had taken the groom’s father’s role by paying for all of this.  The Bharat consists of eating some food, then the bride and groom sitting on a couch while family after family comes and sits around them for a picture.  Add those flashing lights to the camera lights because the wedding was being videotaped.  If you look at most of my wedding pictures, you can see that we’re squinting, despite our best efforts.

These lights, of course, added to the 120-degree heat, as did my suit jacket.  It’s a nice night for everyone but you.

At the end, an entourage followed my wife and I to our honeymoon nest.

And there, for the first time- finally!– I saw my wife.

She was beautiful…

To be continued…

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Strange Marriage, Part 4

Patience is the most pain…

My brother forwarded me an email once.  Some school in Saudi Arabia was looking for an English teacher.  I read it and deleted it.

Meanwhile, things continued as before.  I knew that to get my life together I needed a regular schedule and salary.  So I signed up for a temp job at Dell.  It paid less than driving a limo could, but, at least I knew where I was going to be at a given time of day.

Now when I told my wife that I was going to work in a factory, I made a mistake, and she made a mistake.  I told her I was going to work from 4 pm to 1230 am.  She started imagining the sweatshop her brother worked in with me in it.

So she was expecting a call at 1230 my time, but I had made a huge mistake.  I was working until 230 am.  We could not use phones at any time or place in the factory, so I just kept working.  When I finally did call, her only words were tears.

“Do they have AC?” she kept asking.

I said, “Yes, they have AC, they give us breaks, everything’s fine.”

She didn’t believe me.  She thought I was covering it up just so she wouldn’t worry.  Her brother worked long hours at a sewing machine with no ventilation and dim lights, and that was actually pretty good, considering what goes on in other factories.

“Don’t worry.  America only allows that outside of our country,” I assured her.

I wasn’t the only over-qualified guy in the factory.  I used to meet up for coffee before work with a Tunisian guy who was very intellectual, and working on a Master’s degree.  I should say coffees.  The guy picked me up for work at 2.15 and we didn’t start until four o’clock.  And my house was only 15 minutes away!  When he called I was barely awake, which was not a problem because we spent the next hour and 15 minutes exploring the outer reaches of free refills.  Once we spent 3 hours at a Starbucks on a night work finished early, which means I kept having to tell my wife I’d call her back.  Needless to say, she didn’t approve of this friend.  She doesn’t seem to approve of any of the friends I have coffee with, now that I think about it…

Somehow, I started to think about that email my brother had sent me.  My first trip abroad ever involved backpacking Europe in a Mercedes, if you can imagine that, and I’d had the “travel bug”- this desire, this need to be other places- ever since.  Maybe it started a little before that, but ever since I felt like a fish in a fishbowl that was floating in the ocean.  I had to get out.  My teaching license petition wasn’t going anywhere either, so maybe that was it, too.  I asked my brother to resend it, and alhamdulillah he still had it.

My interview with the school changed my life.

They told me about the job, blah, blah, blah, but when I started asking them about bringing family, they said I would be able to have my wife there within 2 months.  Getting that job in Saudi Arabia became my mission in life.  Saudi or bust..

I did everything.  They told me to get any teaching certificate, so I found the only one that was immediately available, a 20-hour weekend certificate in New Jersey.  I missed a flight to New York, got on another one to D.C. and took a train to New York, slept out in Jersey.  I needed some, any teaching qualification to be eligible for a visa.  I straggled my way back to my D.C., where my brother was working.  Then I called them to let them know everything was ready.  And you know what they told me?

Nothing.

They played me.  They were all off on summer vacation. 

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and this only hardened my resolve.  I looked up an old friend, the same one who had invited me to Islam in fact, who I’d heard was teaching in Saudi Arabia.  He directed me to some English language teaching websites where job ads were posted.  I literally applied for every single job in the Middle East.  Unless they said they wanted a Ph.D, they got an application from me that summer.

Saudi Arabia has its particulars.  Their work visa requires a medical screening that should be the newest Olympic sport.  I took the form from the consulate to ProMed, and they kept looking at it, scratching their heads, going to ask someone in the back, looking at me, and scratching their heads again.

“What’s this for?”

“It’s for a visa to Saudi Arabia.”

“But why do they want all these tests?”

“I guess they don’t want any diseases in their country.”

“Yeah, they probably have enough problems already…”

I had to give a blood test, drug test, urine test, AIDS test, chest x-ray.  There was even a stool sample.  I didn’t know what a stool sample was, but, now that I do, I can tell you that you do NOT want to know how to “collect” and store one.

Whatever, I was on my plane to Saudi.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but when I saw Jeddah for the first time on the highway from the airport, I was shocked.  It was just. like. America.  The billboards, the cars, the clothes.  Everything.  OK, well there were about 100 times more people wearing black or white robes, but still.  Somewhere, apparently, and without my permission, they’d figured out that AC is much more effective than the shade of a palm tree, and traded in horses for horsepower…  It was just- I guess I’d read so much about the first generations of Muslims that I hadn’t imagined what else could have happened in the land they once lived in.  It’s not that I expected to go back in time or to be in some kind of holy land.  But I was expecting the difference to be greater.

The Bollywood music started and the crowd parted.  My wife walked out of the terminal, saw me, started gushing, and in a near run interrupted by bounds of joy, she fell into my outstretched arms and bouquet of roses.  

Then I woke up to the fight of my life.

It was Ramadan, which in the Arabian Gulf means shortened work hours, which means that the application for my residency permit, essential to my wife’s visa application, was going nowhere slow.  If you ask anybody for anything, they’ll tell you “After Eed.”  It’s not a holy month, it’s the perfect excuse…

I had to work on site till about 12 at the outskirts of Jeddah, hop on the first thing smoking back to my office, and start hounding this guy or that guy, whoever the buck was being passed to, about the application.  It turned out my boss was giving me the run-around.  He kept telling me to have someone else sign something that only he had the authority to sign, and by the way, he always takes Ramadan (and most other months) off, so the only way to get him to sign something was to give it to the guy who drove to his house from the office once a night.  I had to figure this all out bit-by-bit while getting over jet lag, fasting, going through a heat wave that makes Texas seem like Switzerland, and some mysterious headaches, probably brought on from the aforementioned three.

I had to get violent on those cats.  I went through all this trouble to get the driver guy to get a signature, then get that paper to the stamp guy, who doesn’t give a stamp without a signature, and then give the paper to the PR guy, whose job was to take things to government offices.  Do you know what this PR fool did when I finally tracked him down to give him the paper?  He picked it up like it was a towel and practically crumpled the whole thing.  After all I’d done.  I punched him in the chest.  I wasn’t angry (that’s what every guy says when he’s angry)-  I was just the new guy takin’ the shortcut to a little respect.  I hope that didn’t break my fast.  astaghfirullah

Finally it was all done.  Me and my wife’s paperwork were ready.  According to one veteran ex-pat, it was the Saudi record for getting the family’s paperwork done.

There was just one more thing, to bring her.  Normally, people just buy their wife a ticket and meet her at the airport.  I, however, was unwilling to break the Prophetic order forbidding a woman to travel long distances without a close relative.

“Brother, honestly, you’re wasting a lot of money.”

She’s not going to be traveling alone.  Her family will bring her there, then she’s on the plane with lots of people, and then you’ll meet her at the airport.  Someone will be there the whole time.”

This is what people were telling me, including my boss, who’s money I was borrowing to buy all the tickets, and whose travel agency was booking the ticket, and who’s language center I was going to be absent from for a day.  It’s a miracle this even happened now that I think about it.  alhamdulillah

I didn’t care.  I was willing to pay for a $100 visa to Pakistan, and a roundtrip ticket, only to stay for a day, on top of her one-way ticket, to follow my religion.

Besides, I wasn’t gonna take no chances wit’ my baby…

Her dad and brother met me at the airport.  When I walked into the house, she was helping her mother in the kitchen.  The first thing she did was look away, shy…

We didn’t hug- they don’t do that in front of other people in Pakistan.  We didn’t even smile.  There was too much worry, relief, gladness, and nervousness to know what face to make.  We’d been longing for so long we didn’t know how to feel anything else right away…

“as-Salamu álaykum”

“wa álaykum as-Salam”

Those simple words had so many thousand shades of meaning at that moment, and we meant every single one of them.

People had a certain smell when they are sick.  She had it.   Her skin was sallow, her voluminous hair thinned.  They say patience is a virtue.  I say that of all verbs, ‘wait’ is the most painful.  I don’t know what’s worse, being burned by the fire of the urge of what you think you can do, or the torment of knowing you can do nothing.  I’d had a lot of both.

As if on cue, our flight from Abu Dhabi was delayed.  Overnight.

You’re a young sheltered Pakistani girl, who’s only seen planes in the sky.  Now you’re in the middle of of one of the world’s busiest hubs with all kinds of people flying past- a line of 50 Malaysians with mini-visors sticking out of their hijabs making a beeline at you, a towering, Sudani family wearing miles of cloth taking your breath away, some squawky Brits brushing you aside.  Announcements blare in languages you can’t understand.  You’re alone and you don’t know where to go, who to ask, or even what to ask.

What would I have done if her flight had been delayed overnight and I was sitting in Jeddah not knowing where she was or how to reach her?  What would I have told her family that night at the time they were waiting to hear from her?  What would my friends and their advice do for me me then?

I felt vindicated.

As a reward, al-Ittihad Airways sponsored our second honeymoon:  a one-night stay with a free breakfast buffet in an Abu Dhabi hotel.

I had rented our apartment the day before I left.  I hadn’t even slept there myself, nevermind furnished it.  But it was home, our home, at last.  Only then could we finally take a breath and get a real look at each other again.

She was still beautiful…

To be concluded…

Strange Marriage: The Beginning…

By all normal expectations, we shouldn’t have been married. 

In Pakistan and South Asia, there is the issue of caste.  If anyone from there tells you any different, they’re covering it up to fit in.  It is not as all-encompassing in Pakistan as it is in India, but it is very much a part of marriage decisions.  I can prove it.  Go to any Muslim magazine.  Flip to the back.  You’ll see matrimonials.  Read the ads.  You might see, for example, the word “Rajput”.  That’s a caste.  They want to marry someone from their caste.  They only want to marry someone from their caste. 

On top of not being in her caste, or any that I know of, I’m a kalloo, a black.  Anti-dark skin and anti-African racism has the potential to unite the world.  It is one thing that most cultures seem to agree on, including, sickly, dark-skinned people and Africans themselves.  If anyone from anywhere tells you this isn’t true, just go to where they’re from and ask any dark-skinned people or Africans about that.  Or, when you visit a country, compare how many dark-skinned people you see on the street compared to how many you see on TV.  The only ones you’ll see are in the “before” portion of the skin-lightening cream commercials.

And Pakistan is a controversial country to be connected to, to say the least.  A lot of people fear it, or outright hate it.  I remember driving a newly-wed couple from their wedding to a hotel for their honeymoon.

“Are you married, too?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, really?  Where’d you get married?”

“Pakistan.”

Silence…

We really do make an odd-couple.  We’re over a foot apart in height.  I’m black, she’s white.  I’m the far-flung rebel, she’s the goody-goody homebody.  I’m extroverted, she’s introverted.  And our cultures and languages are vastly different.

“Why did you say yes when they asked if you wanted to marry me?”

“I don’t know.”

That’s the answer I always get when I ask, and I believe it.  When she asks me, I can’t come up with anything different.

Life is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book.  Remember those?  You read through a situation and it ends with the character facing two choices: 

Choose A and turn to page X. 

Choose B and turn to page Y. 

Your choice, in turn, leads to two more choices.  But you didn’t know what they’d be until you’d already turned the page to them.

Except in life, you can’t turn back the page.  That choice is never available to you.  You don’t come to the options of consequences of your choice, and decide to go back and pick others.  You can only continue to choose.  And that’s it.  There’s no other way to describe it.

It doesn’t matter why I did what I did, because it’s already done;  but I’ll still try to tell you.  For one, the taste of adventure intrigued me.  I’ve always wanted something different.  There’s always been something about where I am- wherever I am- and who I am- though the most part I love- that I’ve hated.  I’ve always wanted to be different, to do different.  Whenever I look at the road that’s paved for me, I step off it and walk on the grass.  It’s softer on my feet. 

I used to be so filled with rage, and I still am, but no longer consumed by it.  I wanted revenge against the society I was born in.  You know what I hated the most?  Humiliation.  I hated the fact that I was in America because my every second there was a reminder that my ancestors had been dominated, ripped from their lands and history, my history, raped and enslaved.  I hated my own- the European trophy on the grave of my African and Native American ancestors.  I looked around and all I saw was people being abused, and taking it.  It was unfathomable.  Talk about my mama, and I woulda beat you up, but you know what the real insult was?  Telling me what to do.  Who did you think you were that I would obey you?  Who did you think I was?  I will not do what you say, even if it’s what I want to do, for the exact reason that you told me to do it.  I will correct you.  Further, I will humiliate you for your arrogance against me.  I will make you wallow, publicly, in the humiliation you dared to believe I would accept.

I remember once, in 2nd grade, there was an assembly.  So the teacher told us to line up and get ready to go.  I can’t tell you why, but I refused.  She made every threat, but I would not get in line with the rest of the class.  Finally, she turned off the lights and led the class out.  I called her bluff and stayed right there, until the assembly finished and they came back.  Her blunder was that I had no bluff.  There was nothing anyone could do to me, no threat that I could even imagine, that was worse than living with humiliation.  I could endure anything except shame.  Living with the memory of oppression was a worse fate than death.

You know what really used to trip me out?  Watching everybody tripping out on me.  I’d be looking at them taking orders and conforming and I couldn’t believe it.  Couldn’t they see they didn’t have to?  How could they ever want to?  I mean I was there setting the example, fighting for all of us, right in front of their faces.  It hurt me to watch them endure what in my eyes could only be suffering, and I was fundamentally, absolutely bewildered that they couldn’t see the point.  I was really popular, these were my friends.  I was the class clown, class rebel and honor roll student, all at the same time.  Everybody liked me and was probably a little leery of me at the same time.

So everything and everyone feels familiar and utterly foreign to me at the same time.  There’s no crowd I don’t feel lonely in, no people I can consider wholly mine, none who consider me wholly theirs.

That’s probably why I travel, why I’m free.  I have nothing to gain or lose.  I feel like I can do anything.  There’s nothing to hold me back.  I’m always on the outside looking in, and the inside looking out.  It’s not so much that I transcend, it’s that everywhere is the same.  There are just the obligatory adjustments of language, currency, time zone, etc.  Hard times ain’t a hurdle for me.

So that’s why I said yes to the marriage.

Sometimes people say, “I wish I could’ve done that.”  Not about this “strange marriage” but other things I’ve done, like transferring to another university, or studying abroad.  I’m like “Why couldn’t you have?  You could’ve applied as easily as me…”  But it wasn’t the practicalities they were talking about.  It is only now, and I mean at this exact moment as I am writing to you, that I realize what it was really all about.

You can’t dream.

In Sociology, I learned that institutionalization means taking the present reality for granted to the extent that you can’t imagine anything else, even if you don’t like it, even if it feels wrong.

You can’t even picture yourself even trying.

This isn’t what you want, you’re not who you want, but at least you know what’s on the next page.  If you start choosing your own way, you won’t know, and that’s why you don’t choose it.  I don’t blame you, because I’m as scared as you.  But what I’m scared of is what’s on this page, and what I know is on the next one.  What I’m scared of is the way we feel right now.  The reason I take the risk isn’t because I’m stronger than you.  I have no idea what’s gonna happen next and I swear to God that I’m afraid.  But I know it’s our only chance, and that’s why I take it.  I’m not brave-  I’m just less afraid of change than the misery of things staying the same.

And that’s all this story is really about when you think about:  a choice.  One simple choice, and all the choices that were opened or closed to me after it.  Marry the girl or not.  At the same time, so much of that choice was beyond my choosing.  Her father chose Islam over culture and that gave his daughter the choice.  She, in turn, chose yes, which gave me the choice.  There is a verse in the Qur-an which is translated as “and you do not choose except as Allah Chooses”.  Before we choose anything, so much has been chosen before it for us to even be able to.

___

Now I’m gonna ask you a question, the answer to which is a question, that only I can answer.

Ready?

Do you know what my friend just texted me, tonight, right before I started writing this chapter?

“Based on the story i’m reading on the net. have you been back home with your wife yet?”

The answer’s no and yes:  no, I have not taken her to the land of my upbringing;  yes, for we are home wherever we are.  Wherever we arrive, we project an aura, the same aura, from our hearts, and its beams meet itself right at the top of wherever we are, then we bring it down, then it fills the entire space that we are in.  Then we are home, in our love, in our special culture.

Our dream is the only home we have, and by Islam we realize them:  that every person was made to live in peace- wholeness within, unity without.  Every person has the right to inherit that peace, the duty to uphold it, and the responsibility to pass it .  It is only that, truly, that unites my wife and I, across the chasms of culture, background, and personality:  we share the same dream.

Don’t underestimate them:  dreams are the most powerful things in this world. And the most dangerous.  Name anything, and we have more than enough of it.  Maybe they’re being squandered or hoarded, but there’s more than enough water, food, land, oil, everything.  The one thing there isn’t enough of is room for everyone’s dream to come true.  It is for this alone that wars are fought.  This, not money, is the root of all evil, for money is only a means to achieve.  This is the source of every lie- for at all times, every effort is being made to create your dream for you, because your dreams determine your choices.  Everyone wants you to choose as they have chosen, because in life, really, there are only 2 choices:  wake up to your dream one day, or somebody else’s.

Choose wisely.