Monday, January 21, 2008

Count those blessings, people. Count 'em up.

Sometimes it is very, very difficult to maintain a hopeful, positive attitude in this world.

On the macro level, of course, are all those obvious things: warfare, famine, disease, and the very real possibility that we are entering the Final Days of humanity.

Or, on a more immediate, less abstract level, there are also the daily trials and suffering that we see around us: cancer and divorce, suicide and bankruptcy, and the myriad everyday disasters that disrupt our lives.

But it's important and rewarding to take a few minutes, every so often, to think about all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, upon all of us, by the Great Whatever.


For those of us that live here in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed with a beautiful land of plenty, where, God willing, we will never know war or famine. Consider the billions of people in the world for whom that is not true. In Iraq, in Kenya, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in the Sudan.

Or consider the blessing of education. If you have completed high school in the United States, when you consider humanity at large, you are part of the very select elite of highly-educated people throughout history. Just by virtue of the fact that you can read, you have access to a wealth of knowledge that even the most educated monarchs and emperors of history's highest civilizations would envy.

Or consider the blessing of having family and friends. With every intimate relationship, whether it is between a parent and a child, or between close friends, or between husband and wife, there is always some measure of pain. But to have someone to love and to be loved by is a blessing, indeed. In fact, the pain that is an inherent part of any relationship can serve as a crucible that tempers love, that promotes wisdom and understanding, that enhances one's knowledge of what it is to be human. Better to have loved....blah, blah, blah.

This is not a complete list. Each of us, if we take the time to do it, can quickly come to see that we have been bestowed with precious gifts. The challenge, in my mind anyway, is to find a way to make oneself worthy, to avoid squandering one's endowments.

This post, I imagine, might seem discordant from my usual doom-and-gloom, angry diatribes against what I see as injustice and ignorance. And it is certainly self-indulgent. I don't know. Put it down to my having seen a lot of pain around me, lately; and to my having recently taken myself off my happy pills (Paxil, to be specific); and to the fact that Maty and I are having discussions about family; and to general angst.

Whenever things get too hairy, I just try to remember all the blessings that I have received: not because I deserved them, but because the Great Whatever has seen fit to place me here, at this particular point in the Grand Scheme. The dice have been cast for me, and they came up snake eyes. Whatever may come, just by virtue of the fact that I am here, in this place, at this time, I am blessed.

It is vitally important to remember that.

1 comment:

Shus li said...

See, now that's the other thing - GRATITUDE! Thank you for this reminder. I feel better when I say out loud what I'm grateful for instead of the constant wah-wah-wah of what's "wrong."