Friday, April 26, 2013

Welcome to America, where we're not especially grateful for anything

Do you know what the three biggest problems in my life are at this moment? I'll tell you:
  1. As I type this on Saturday the 20th of April, I still don't have a job and I want to get one. And soon.
  2. My right ear is blocked with fluid and it's annoying me.
  3. I seriously can't think of a third problem.
So two, then. I have two problems. And neither one is especially harrowing.

I honestly believe I'll be employed very soon (and am grateful I have the skills and opportunities for employment that come with my particular socioeconomic condition). So #1 isn't likely to be a problem for much longer.

And as for my ear, I'm guessing it's just a bacterial thing and will go away. If I need to, even as an unemployed person, I can still afford to pop down to my doctor's office or the urgent care to get the right medicine to treat it.

So #2 isn't really that much of a problem.

Which leaves me with exactly zero things that can be classified as "problems" in the way most of the world thinks of "problems."

There is a minuscule chance I will be in danger of losing my life today.

My refrigerator is stocked to overflowing with good, healthy food.

I have access to virtually unlimited quantities of clean drinking water.

I live in a house with people I love and who love me back.

I own two cars.

I live on a nice street with great neighbors.

I am, by all accounts, among the incredibly blessed.

I bring all of this up because I was just looking at my calendar for the next week, and this is how I reacted:

"Oh man, there's a soccer game for me to coach almost every day. And I have all of these lunches and meetings to go to. And when am I going to find time to study for my public relations accreditation class? This week hasn't even started and it's already horrible."

Feel free to laugh at me. Because I'm laughing at myself.

And crying a little, too. I don't think I had any idea how ungrateful I was for the life I lead until just a few minutes ago when I actually stopped to think about it.

I am light years better off than, for example, the people helped by the City Mission, the wonderful Cleveland-based organization that works with people in crisis and for which I serve as a proud member of the board of directors.

(By the way, the City Mission folks could really, really use your support. I'm telling you, you will not get more impact for your philanthropic dollar anywhere else. Here's a handy link to donate online, if you're so inclined.)

There's a popular Internet theme called "First World Problems," and I find it a useful reminder to be grateful for what I have. Which is a lot.

I guess I just wanted to make sure you felt the same way.

If you have access to an Internet connection and can read this blog, you're already better off than two-thirds of the world.

If you know when your next meal is coming and that it will be filling, you're doing extremely well.

If you have people who love you, you're blessed beyond measure.

Please remember that the next time you start complaining about your leaky faucet or your packed schedule. And please remember to smack me in the head the next time I complain about the same stuff.

Deal? Deal.

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