Sometimes it would be nice if I had a legitimate reason to complain. Oh yes, I complain. I complain about the toaster, gas prices, the tooth-paste, book-bindings, dishes, airbags, and water-heaters. It takes but a small step back to see that the big picture is shouting out that I am blessed beyond measure. Too bad they don’t make glasses to fix my nearsighted self-centered worldview. Surrounded by affluence in the one of the richest countries within the richest time in existence, still complain. I’ve never gone a day without food, never been arrested wrongly, or held at gun-point. My family is a great family. I have more than I need. If my everything that I owned in life was its own living thing, it would be fat. It would simply crush all my dissatisfaction with its mass. But there is no really large blob-of-my-belongings to knock sense into me.
It is so easy to find the chink in the wall, stick my nose inches from it and then let it eat away at me. It’s easy to fade the rest of the world out and focus on the single imperfection. It’s like some of these fashion-models that think they need to lose weight to be good enough, when in reality they are beautiful. And, if they weren’t completely skinny they would still be fantastic—personality is frankly what is important, I don’t think any couple has remained married for fifty years because they both had hot bodies. And being beautiful certainly does not mean happiness. But I’m going off topic, the point is it seems to be human nature to find an imperfection and then bitterly fixate on it until it consumes all the good that is screaming for recognition. People speculate whether there is more or less evil in the world than there was in the past. But what about the good? Why don't we ask is there more or less good in the world. Now, I’m not a look-at-the-glass half-full kinda guy, and I’m not advocating that perspective. I’m a realist. The glass is half full of water it is half full of air. It is also half empty of water, and half empty of air.
My point is thankfulness is something we have in spite of not having everything. We will never have everything, we shouldn’t even want that—think about everyone else for crying out loud—what would they have? We should simply realize that right now, there are people in other countries who are being parasitized by worms, sweating in small mud and stick huts with malaria, there are small children who will never know what hindsight looks like. There are parents who watch their children die in their arms of starvation--helplessly. There are those who are oppressed by tyrannical rulers. There are those who watch warlords murder their family—there are children who are blindfolded and forced to murder their own family and then to become hyper-expendable solders. There are some who eat dirt because it has some nutrients in it. Just some.
I get upset when someone waists a few minutes of my time, when I don’t get exactly what I want. A few unkind words and my day is ruined. I have days. I have food. I have a future. I have life. Still, I am unthankful. I have health. I have hope. I have a family. I foolishly take it for grated. I have the ability to help. I have surplus. I have time to change.
Is reality a strong enough motivator to persuade me that I have it good? Most days, no. I wish I was completely alone on this one. I wish I was the only person as unthankful as myself. But I'm not. Most people are in the same or worse state of mind as me. Even worse, unfortunately I am not generally unthankful.