You know how you can be chugging along in life with everything working out well enough that you have time to get upset about things like your coffee not being hot enough, when something stops you and makes you realize how incredibly blessed you really are?
It happened to me last week.
We live in such a country of privilege, where, for the majority of us, water runs on demand, homes are warm and food is plentiful, that we no longer appreciate the necessities in life. We feel it is our right to have them.
Anyone who has travelled to an area thirsting for water will tell you how amazed they are at our wasteful use of the precious resource when they return, but over time, most forget and jump right back on board the take-it-for-granted train.
It seems to me that as long as the water runs, the house stays warm and the pantry is stocked, we don’t give much thought to what life would be like without it.
Life’s like that. Whatever routine we get into, it becomes our narrow focus and we forget to be thankful — or is it just me?
Last week I was patting myself on the back for getting Ukrainian treats made for my daughter’s class after one of those “mom I need it for tomorrow” pleas that resulted in a three-hour ordeal, when I read a message on Facebook from my best friend back in Calgary.
She was asking for prayer for a little three-year-old boy who was undergoing a fourth surgery that day to remove fluid from his brain.
My ignorant bliss was interrupted. I was forced to think about that poor little boy struggling to survive in the hospital and his family watching helplessly.
I prayed a heartfelt prayer and then tried to shake the image from my mind, but it was too late. I had put myself in his mother’s shoes, and soon I was tearing up thinking ‘what if it was my son lying there, helpless.’
There’s something about your child being hurt that makes the rest of the world stop. You no longer care if you have a job or a home or your next meal. You would trade it all in a heartbeat for your child to be better.
My son Ryder had to have two surgeries before he was two years old, and although they were not life-threatening circumstances, when they wheeled his tiny, gown-covered, one-year-old body into the operating room, I felt a helpless sadness that’s hard to explain.
My friend’s post brought all the feelings back for me, and for a moment I stopped my busy take-it-for-granted life and thought about all the things I’m thankful for.
The list is long, but here are some things that made it: the overall health of my family, water, food, employment, a home, the ability to worship freely, safe public spaces, personal freedom, my family, my friends, my pets, clothes, entertainment, education, kitchen appliances, chocolate and even that lukewarm coffee I complained about — because it’s better than nothing, which is what many have.
Did you know that at least 80 per cent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day? I would bet that almost everyone reading this column can count themselves in the privileged 20 per cent.
So whether it takes a shocking statistic or a sad personal story to make you stop and take stock of all the good things in your life this week, I hope you will take a moment to give it some thought. I’m glad I did.