This week I dropped my wallet at a restaurant. The wallet was retrieved as was my insurance cards. My license and credit cards were not. Still, as soon as I had the leather pouch back in my hand and I had steeled myself for what was ahead, a wave of absolute ok-ness washed over me. Hours have now been spent canceling, arranging for new, transferring direct monthly payments, etc. but people have been great to work with, I actually have a $50 check coming to me that I would have never redeemed from points collected on one card, and . . .
I don't live in Haiti.
The news of the devastation that just a few seconds of the earth's fury can cause leaves me in tears and speechless. Having stood in the midst of ruin when Tropical Storm Allison sent 5 feet of water through my offices, I can recall the utter sense of helplessness of being surrounded by what had once meant so much to me and now was literally a pile of crap (and I truly mean crap) at my feet. And having said that, I also know that my experience doesn't compare in the slightest. When I left the stuffy, stinking confines of that condemned building, I still had a bed to go home to. I had a means of knowing -- without a doubt -- that there was light at the end of my tunnel. The Haitians didn't have much light before the quake.
I don't usually compare my circumstances to others to make me feel superior but I do sometimes reflect on others so I can remember to be grateful. Maybe my job is sometimes frustrating, but the paycheck comes, I have insurance, and every day I get to work with interns and volunteers who inspire me with their dedication and passion. Maybe I'm overweight and facing more physical nuisances than I did ten years ago, but I can walk those pounds off and do so without the use of a cane and with the knowledge that nothing is eating away inside of me. Maybe I don't have a man in my life to say "I love you as you are" but I have friends and family who will answer my calls, eat my food, laugh at my stories, share their children and dogs, and challenge me to take that walk, see that film, write, laugh, play, LIVE!
Gratitude isn't a big enough word to capture how I feel when I get it all in perspective.