Sometimes I feel we can measure the degree of our privilege by how many things we take for granted.
Is the air we breathe clean? Can we put food on the table? Are we healthy? Do we feel safe? Do we have friends we can count on? Do we love the work we do?
For many of us, the answer to these questions is self-evident. That’s why we live our lives without realizing how privileged we are… until.
Until something happens that shakes up our life.
We end up suffering from terrible allergies. We experience food insecurity. We’re diagnosed with COVID. Our house burns down. Friends fail us. We hate our job…
Isn’t it sad that, for us to really appreciate the good, we often have to experience the opposite?
In a way it’s pretty pathetic that we have to dedicate a special day to being thankful.
Twenty-four hours of madness and indigestion.
And when it’s over, we move on. Pepto-Bismol in hand.
The next day, we shop our inner emptiness away, and retail resurges. Hopefully.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Of course not.
All we need to do is press pause…. and be mindful of the many ordinary blessings that make our life livable and meaningful.
It’s the little, big things we take for granted.
It’s the things that we don’t have to worry about, that are the small stones in the mosaic of our happiness.
Now, this may sound simple, and you might be right.
But everything that looks and sounds simple, never is. All of us can buy the ingredients to a five-star dish, but very few can make a Michelin-star worthy meal. This is a tough lesson to learn in a time of instant gratification.
We want things at the speed of a mouse click. A new computer. A new eye liner. A new career. Just get the right equipment plus a P2P membership, and you’re in business!
It’s easy to buy a blank canvas, some paint, and a few brushes. But that’s just the start of a long, winding road. There’s so much to absorb. So much to learn. And learning never stops.
Let’s be honest.
Very few people were born to be a soccer star like Maradona, or a top tennis player. Very few home cooks get to be a top chef. But you can still enjoy playing the violin, even if you never perform at Carnegie Hall. Many string players have a fulfilling career in an ensemble and not as a soloist.
So, on a day like today, be thankful for the talents you were born with. Be thankful for the people who love you for who you are. They don’t care if you’ll never be front page news. I bet they actually prefer it that way.
Share your talents with the world, and make it a better place because of you.
YOU are a gift, and I am grateful to know you!
Every day of the year.
Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice