Snowtober. Hurricane Irene. Wind, sleet, hail, relentless rain. A power outage occurs and we get back to the basics: warmth on a cold, wet day with a pile of blankets to crawl under; hot and cold running water...any running water for that matter; a refrigerator to keep our food from spoiling, a freezer to keep it even longer. It can be that simple, right? What matters most are often the "basics" we take for granted, these modern marvels that I barely notice or stop to appreciate until they're taken away. The dryer breaks. A power line goes down. Or I travel far from the western world. Many of you shared these very items in the theme pool for the past two weeks. You talked about your friends and families, your homes, and sometimes just making it though the day was enough for you. Yet, if you're like me, for all that we appreciate the beauty in our lives, we also spend as much time looking at just the opposite. We notice what don't have, instead of what we do. Our thoughts and judgement get clouded by advertisers, political squabbling or maybe the harsh reality of our bank accounts. We don't mean to get distracted. It just happens.
I once drove past a village in Nepal where the only running water was a spigot on the side of a busy road. Men and women, young and old, bathed themselves wrapped in sarongs, lathering the soap through fabric just to get clean. Instead of a tiled shower stall or smooth bathtub, they found muddy, gravel beneath their feet. In South Africa, thousands of people live in squatter camps and count themselves fortunate to have a roof over their heads. This is not to say that these people live lesser lives, just more difficult ones with less.
As we move into the busy holiday season where time seems to disappear just thinking about it, I'm hoping i can stop for a moment now and again to reflect on all that I have, and give many thanks for the miraculous blessings that come in and out of my life on a daily basis. It's this sentiment, from yzzilyzzid that moved me to write this post. After passing countless cotton fields on the side of the road, she reflected on the work of thousands that used to bring in this cash crop. "I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to pick those cotton balls by hand. They are so stiff and unyielding, and I'm sure that at the end of the day your hands would be cracked and bleeding." After making this observation, she reflects, "I am so grateful to work in an air conditioned office, and the greatest difficulty I have to face is completely insignificant in light of what I could face daily. How truly blessed I am." I couldn't agree more, and I'm hoping to hold on to these feelings of gratitude and maintain the ability to focus on joy, love and giving in the weeks ahead. And although at some point, I'll probably bemoan the fact that we still haven't replaced our dryer, I can gratefully say that I don't mind. Truly, I have all that I need around me, so I can enjoy the process of focusing on what really matters most. How about you? What matters most in your world?
329:365 king cotton by yzzilyzzid