Every day, I get to wake up in a warm and comfortable bed, eat breakfast, get dressed, and go to my job where I hopefully get to make a difference. After work, I come home, sit in a comfortable chair, eat dinner, shower, watch TV, and then go to bed in my cozy bed. I'm in pretty good health, can get around, have a car, family, and friends.
I think all the time about what others are going through. For instance, all the victims of the hurricanes and fires and so many losing their homes, trying to get to safety, and survive.
I think of the homeless never knowing where they’ll sleep or if they’ll eat that day.
I think of those who are struggling with health issues and financial issues.
I think of those who are experiencing hate, bigotry, or discrimination in any way, and are fighting for their very existence in a country that doesn't always fight for them.
I think of those who are victims of cruelty and crimes, who are murdered, and those who lose the lives of their loved ones as a result.
I think of all the animals that are harmed, who are left to roam the streets, who may not know when they will eat.
I think about those who are fighting in wars, never knowing if they'll come home in one piece or if they'll even make it home at all.
I think of those who are struggling with addictions that have completely taken over their lives.
I think of all the children who are abused and who are so hungry for love.
I think of those in other countries who are victims of genocide, seeing their family and friends slaughtered and having to live with those memories, of those trying to escape with the clothes on their backs to a place of safety, being labeled immigrants, and wondering if the new country will even accept them.
I think on these and so much more. Then I realize that I have nothing to complain about. Sure, I have my share of bad days and I sometimes get down on myself. I have those moments where I wonder if life is worth it. Then I think of all those who are fighting just to make it through another day.
Instead, there’s so much to be grateful for. In the realm of everything that could go wrong in my life, I'm actually doing quite well. I've learned that I should not take the life I have for granted for even a split second. Sure, it could be better, but it could also be a whole lot worse. I'll accept the life I currently have and accept it gratefully.
My heart goes out to all those who are struggling. It is only by fate that we’re not in your shoes.
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Cynthia Ozick
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 20, 2017.