Look around you. What do you see? How do you see it? Does it make you happy? Sad? Angry? Indifferent? When you see your life, the environment in which you live, the people around you, and material things in your possession, do you feel grateful?
Last night I had the pleasure of going to dinner with a good friend of mine and this topic was brought up. It was screaming at me so loud that now, I just have to share it with you.
We spend so much of our lives wanting more.
You know how it goes. We want want want and when we finally get it, how do we use it? How do we appreciate it? How do we perceive it? More importantly, how do we use, appreciate, and perceive the things we already have?
Now, I’m not talking about that flat screen TV you waited in line hours for last Black Friday. I’m talking about your ability to clap and cheer at your favorite sporting event. I’m talking about being able to lift your hand to scratch your itchy nose. I’m talking about being able to open your toothpaste and brush your teeth on your own.
How often do you really deeply appreciate those things? It sounds silly, doesn’t it? I’m grateful that I can brush my own teeth. But really, think about how your life would be if you couldn’t.
I go to wrestling events in my town every month and the last few months I’ve been seeing this boy. He is in a complex wheelchair and can not talk, scratch his face, or clap his hands. Each time I’ve seen him there I’ve taken a few moments to watch him. This may sound weird, but he definitely puts my life into perspective each time.
When the crowd would get loud and cheer and clap, this boy would try his hardest to cheer and clap with us even thought he could only manage to make some grunting-like sounds and wave his arms around. He broke my heart because despite all of his “limitations”, he looked like he was enjoying the show and his life so much. He was grateful.
Sometimes I find myself complaining and thinking things like, My life would be so much better if I had a good career and could afford nicer things. In the same breath, I’ll turn around and think, I really wish we didn’t have so much junk cluttering up the house.After witnessing this boy at this month’s show, I went deep inside myself and really saw for the first time in a while how blessed I am.
I can walk. I can talk. I can clap. I can scratch my face. I can type on this computer. I can sit at my desk in my comfy chair. I can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner in my fully functioning and ascetically pleasing kitchen. Not to mention, I can afford to food shop the way I want to (for the most part). I never go without anything I need (except when I run out of paper towels), and I always have exponentially more than the bare necessities in all aspects of my life.
The things is, most of us are like that too. We wake up every day, go to the bathroom, shower and brush our teeth like we are entitled to those things – like they can never be taken away. Truth be told, those things can be ripped away from us in an instant.
Now let’s try this again. Look around you. What do you see? How do you see it?