As I spent the better part of yesterday bailing out a couple of inches of water from my basement and waiting for an $800 repair to be completed on my car, I began to engage in a self-pity party. After all, I was just beginning to get a little ahead and I wondered why these tragedies had befallen me. Then I viewed images of the hardest hit areas by hurricane Sandy and the other weather systems meteorologists termed "Frankenstorm." I began to feel as though my problems were insignificant in comparison, and that I was petty for even considering them problems.
Whereas my basement flooded with a couple of inches of water, some people had their entire homes demolished. Others had no electricity, with no hope of having service for as long as a week or more. Here I was sitting in my warm home with electric, water and Internet, feeling bad about a little water in the basement. And so what if my car needed an expensive repair, some people lost their cars entirely due to Sandy. I would pick up my newly repaired car and write a check, that I was fortunate enough to have the funds to cover. I would eat a filling dinner tonight and sleep in a warm bed, safe and secure with only the most minor disruption of my life due to things beyond my control. I would wake in the morning and have a leisurely cup of coffee and go to work and forget the minor inconveniences of the previous day. Unfortunately for those effected by Sandy, life would not be so easy. They will have dead family members to bury and shattered lives to rebuild.
A priest I knew when I was a teenager once consoled me when I was feeling down about some typical teenage problems I was having. He said, "Come to me when you have a missing arm and I will bring you someone with no arms. Come to me with no arms and I will bring you someone with no arms and no legs." I got the message that the good Father was trying to convey, that no matter how bad we think our problems are, there is always someone who has it worse. In recent years, whenever I have felt down about life, I tell myself, "There are over 6 billion people on this planet, and probably 5 billion of them would glady change places with me."
So as most of us go about our lives after having experienced minor or no inconvenience due to Sandy, let us not forget those who were not as fortunate. Pray for them, support them with donations, but most of all, be grateful for the blessings bestowed upon you. Gratitude for the good things in life is truly a blessing in and of itself and is the key to a happy life. Gratitude for life's blessings is also a lifeline that can pull you to safety when your life detours into adversity.
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