I wrote this post on Tuesday. Specifically for Gratituesday. And then I couldn’t make myself finish it, or push the publish button. I suppose because it’s the kind of irritating writing I don’t like to read, especially when my day-to-day life seems composed of nothing but uphill struggles and crap to muck through.
Let’s be honest here, shall we?
It’s not always easy to see past difficulties and troubles in life and count blessings or feel grateful. Why is that? Lack of perspective? Lack of sleep? Lack of understanding?
The inability to feel gratitude, to notice and appreciate the good and great things about my life occasionally overtakes me and then I feel miserable.
Sometimes, on Tuesdays I feel almost like I’m bragging, although I don’t mean to. Sometimes on Tuesdays I feel embarrassed by the abundance I have in my life.
And then sometimes on Tuesdays I struggle to find something I feel grateful for. And then I feel ashamed that I could feel that way.
By any measure, particularly on a global scale, my life is one of riches, comfort, ease, wonders and glorious blessings. Even the poorest person in my city is better off than most of the world. Compared to eighty percent of the people on this planet I am a wealthy person.
Maybe I need to convince myself when I’m having a bad day, when the bills pile up, when the troubles I face feel extra daunting. If that’s the case maybe I should look at what’s missing and what’s not missing in my life.
- I’m not homeless.
- I’m not hungry.
- I don’t wonder about fuel to cook with or light at night.
- I don’t fear reprisals if I voice my opinions or disagree with authority.
- The air I breathe isn’t contaminated or polluted or making me ill.
- Little restricts me if I choose to travel.
- No major disease riddles my body or challenges my health or life.
- Access to all sorts of information isn’t restricted or filtered.
- I’m not persecuted for my religious beliefs.
- I have food in the pantry.
- Clothing choices abound, as do shoes.
- Clean running water comes into my house with ease.
- I’m safe in my neighborhood and in my city.
- A variety of transportation is readily available.
- If I really need medical care I can find a way to get it.
- I’m able to communicate with extended family easily and quickly.
- I can read and write, and so can my children.
- Growing up I had two parents and siblings and everything I needed.
All of that reads like fairly basic, and almost silly stuff that just seems commonplace and ordinary. It’s only basic in some limited parts of the world, and even then only in some parts of some cities. The whole world isn’t like where I live and work and play and write. Hardly. I live in a utopia, a wonderland, a bubble.
I’ve heard people say things like, “Oh, real poverty could never happen here in America, not now, not anymore.”
I cringe when I hear such isolated and naïve talk.
To those who think such thoughts I say this:
Drop by a food pantry sometime. Volunteer for a day or two. Talk to a few of the people who come in for help. Open your eyes.
Google this term: “Countries at War.” Enjoy that reading. Or look up “Global Poverty” then look around you. Want a more realistic comparison? Then just ask your search engine to look at “Poverty in the U.S.”
Sometimes we just don’t see the gloriously green forest all around us because the tree we’re banging our sad little head on gets in the way of our view. I’m one of those most guilty of such behavior.
Blessed beyond measure. That’s me!
Grateful for it all? You’re dang right!
I hope your view turns out as spectacular or better than mine.
“May our effort, confidence and concern for others be the altar from which we pray for personal abundance.” ~Laura Teresa Marquez