I read a post by a friend of mine the other day saying “It’s a beautiful day but I can’t decide; motorcycle ride or boat ride?” Kevin’s recreational dilemma earned him a boatload (sorry) of smart-aleck responses, including mine which simply said “First-world problem.” Not that I faulted him for thinking about how to spend his day off. I probably would have chosen a round of golf.
It got me to thinking about life in the USA. I hear complaints such as,“I can’t believe the price they’re asking for organic arugula.” “My cell phone battery died!” “Did you see the price of gas went up five cents today?” “Can you believe this heat? And our air conditioner is acting up.” “Starbuck’s was soooo crowded today.”
Every morning I get out of bed, pause for a quick stop in the bathroom then drink a cup of cold water to begin the re-hydration process. I fill the coffee machine and turn it on. Then I walk to the living room, open the drapes and do a few stretches while watching the neighbors walk by with their dogs. Back to the coffee machine where I brew a single cup of very good, strong coffee and then to my recliner. I switch on the reading light, grab my devotional book and scripture lesson for the day, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me and then read, then pray. By the time I’m through, my wife is up, so I dress and join her for breakfast.
Each day, as I’m doing these things, I think about the millions of people around the globe whose day begins very differently from my day. They may live in a straw-covered hut or a tin-roofed shack. There’s no bed. There’s no plumbing. There’s no electricity. Water has to be fetched. There’s no coffee and there might not be any breakfast either. There’s no living room to go to because there is only one room. No drapes. No leashed pets walking by with pet owners to follow them with plastic baggies for the poop. In Mexico, in India, in parts of Africa or South America, this is how the day starts.
Now, I don’t feel guilty about this (you want me to, don’t you?) No, what I feel is gratitude. Not just some vague “I feel so blessed.” kind of gratitude, but a deep, soul deep, gratitude to my God and Father who placed me in this wonderful country. I don’t deserve this; but it is what my God has chosen for my lot.
If you and I would stop once in a while, and consider how ridiculously well-provided for we are here in the USA; if we’d just count the blessings (clean water!) we take for granted; we’d take a knee before God and continuously offer humble thanks.
By USA standards, I’m not wealthy. Living on that dreaded “fixed income” that old people like to complain about (because not enough of you are buying my book!) Yet I enjoy a standard of living that most of the rest of the world envies.
So after coffee and scripture, my prayer includes sincere thanks to God for His bounty, a resolve to use it wisely and to share it when I can. Then it’s time to get dressed. I wonder what they’re getting for that organic arugula today?