A conversation with a neighbor in our condo building yesterday gave me pause to think.
He was leaving to go to work in a job that has been not been eliminated or had hours reduced by the chaos of these times, and I exited the elevator just in time to hear him telling our concierge that he “had had enough of all of this; he was sick of it.”
As he was leaving the building, and he noticed me standing there and asked if I was sick as sick of this as he is. He left before I could respond.
My brief encounter with him cause me to reflect on how remiss I have been in taking for granted all I have in my life and not spending nearly enough time focusing on all I should be grateful for.
Like my neighbor, I still have a job and an income. Approximately 80,000 fellow Calgarians and some 200,000 Albertans have recently lost theirs.
I live in a comfortable home equipped with my every need while thousands of Canadians are at risk of losing theirs and worrying what might happen after they are unable to make the mortgage payments and pay their rent today, May 1.
Each night as I sleep in my warm bed, some 5,000 people in my city sleep in shelters, doorways, park benches or any place they can find. Many barely sleep – fear and anxiety keep them awake.
Numerous people survive on one meal every day or two. My fridge is full and when it isn’t, a brief outing to Safeway replenishes everything.
Twenty- five thousand people around the world died of hunger today and another 25,000 will die tomorrow. My meal decisions will be based on what to eat, not on where, how or if.
I am healthy and strong while more than 5,000 of my fellow Albertans have contacted a deadly virus that is sweeping the world. Several hundred of them are presently in ICUs desperately fighting for their lives. More than 80 of them have lost the battle.
Worldwide that number is around 230,000 and growing.
I have a loving wife and a healthy selection of friends to laugh with and cry with, albeit virtually in some cases. There are so many who are alone, lonely and forgotten, desperately wanting and needing to feel valued and loved.
My neighbor also has all that I have described. In our brief exchange, he unintentionally taught me a lesson that I needed to review. You may find it helpful in these times too.
As I spent some time thinking through my life, I felt a deep sense of shame for my lack of gratitude for all the wonders that life has provided me. I am truly blessed to be where I am and as I write this my heart is filled with a sense of gratitude I have never felt before.
I made a promise to myself that never again will a day pass without me taking time to appreciate all I have and all I have been given.
I also realized I must do better – much better – giving back and seeking opportunities to help those not as blessed as me.
Three weeks ago, I began a weekly Zoom session in hopes of forming a community of people who will be there for each other and will become a force for doing good in our world. All are welcome. I learned today to feel gratitude for those in the group taking their time to join me and I hope if anything I have shared from the lesson I learned today resonates with you, you too will join us and become part of our community.
If you would like to check out our next session, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the link to next week’s meeting.
Regardless of where life has placed you, take a moment now and reflect on the richness of your own life. You will quickly realize how blessed you are.
There is no feeling quite like it.
Till we read again.