Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Gratitude in times of turmoil

To say this year has been a beatdown in every way imaginable would be an understatement, to say the least. I think everyone reading this can relate. But even so, I have to pause to remind myself that my worst day is still so many times better than the best day of many people around the world. My momentary distress is nothing compared to the reality of living an entire lifetime in a state of turmoil, uncertainty, and scarcity.

In this society we get so caught up in having everything we want, we forget to be grateful for already having everything we need. We turn on a faucet, clean water comes out. We flip a switch, the lights go on. If we are hot or cold, we turn a dial and the temperature readjusts to how we like it. 

Not everyone among us has everything they need, of course, although many of us do. But even so, there is still so much abundance here that even  poverty in this part of the world sometimes looks not so different from affluence elsewhere. We all forget just how much we have to be grateful for.

It seems to me that our societal excess of material comforts is in direct proportion to our lack of empathy and compassion. People who already have more than they need resent others for simply wanting enough. Enough food. Enough safety. Enough equality. Enough justice. We hate so easily, so openly.

I am not imune. Although I try very hard not to be this way, there are moments when I get caught up in it, too. Moments when I forget to be grateful, forget to be kind, forget that helping others have enough is simply the rent I pay for being in the world. Moments when I am tempted towards hate.

Today, and everyday, all I can do is try to wake up, comtemplate where I went wrong yesterday, and try to do better today.

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