I forget how good I have it.

February 5, 2009

Sometimes I take the people around me and my circumstances for granted. No, I’m not raking in the cash or appearing regularly on network TV or in movies. But I have a comfy existence and I’m surrounded by people who love me and care about me.

Is the cupcake on the counter the best I’ve ever had? Hardly. But it’s still a cupcake. There are plenty of people around who don’t even have the eggs or the milk needed to craft a cupcake.

And what about the heat?

The steam radiators hiss at me like angry cats every time I jack up the heat. But at least I have the option of turning up the heat and keeping myself warm.

Everyday complaints – like there being no cheese in the fridge, having neighbors who mow too close to my house, owning sweaters that are a little scratchy, and having to wait seemingly forever for the tap water to reach a temperature cool enough to drink – are meaningless in the face of bigger issues.

Like what?

How about people who don’t even have water to drink? Take a look at Charity Water and see that lots of people don’t even have that – then look at what people are doing to change things.

Or my friend’s plight. He worked his butt off for 11+ years and now has millions in the bank. But none of that cash or the success is going to be much solace as his father slips away from him mentally. This guy is only 60 and is predisposed to have Alzheimer’s. It hasn’t hit yet, but the family’s already tense anytime this guy forgets his pants or can’t remember a conversation from a few weeks back.

And this other guy I know is worried constantly about his father’s health. (No idea why it’s all fathers in this story, but it is.) This guy is 68 and battling cancer for the second time in two years. The disease is horrible, but what’s worse is living with the constant stress. Will each time I say “bye dad” be the last time? Will each hug or handshake be the last one?

Sure, the bread truck can round the next corner and flatten you like a pita. Your worries would be over and you wouldn’t be so focused on the water, the heat, the cheese or the family. But I tend to think that if there’s no grief if your life, Charlie Brown, you won’t appreciate the times that everything is clicking along nicely.

You won’t smile at the light snowflakes and the hot fudge sundaes. No giggles as the ducklings swim circles around their duck parents. And no contended sighs or happy tears at the end of a corny sitcom.

Until you take measure of your life in real terms, you can’t really measure the your life’s terms.

Even with a father dying of cancer and a paucity of ducks in the local pond, I have it pretty good.