Happiness and Gratitude for My Life
I was reminded this weekend of how incredibly thankful I should be for my life as it is at this time. Today I am one of the fortunate ones, I am well-educated, I have a good job, my health is good and all-in-all, things are good for me. Not perfect of course, I will certainly see a 10% pay cut this year, my health is not perfect, I have people I care about who are ill, friends who are dealing with the most difficult of things. Yet still, I am one of the lucky ones, my life has finally brought me to a point where my pursuits are less and less about necessity and more and more about my happiness and desires. This most certainly makes me a fortunate man.
This Saturday morning I was heading out for an all-day bicycle ride, the opportunity for that itself a measure of how lucky I am. I stopped at McDonalds for a guilty pleasure, an egg McMuffin and hash browns. As I sat down to eat my breakfast an old woman came in, pushing a small cart full of all of her possessions. She ordered a coffee and a hash brown and sorted out some balled up bills to pay with. I noticed several people adjusted their seats to not sit near her, honestly I considered the same and was ashamed for even having the thought. You see, those of us who live in cities with large homeless populations learn to not see them, develop the ability to ignore them and their suffering. Over time, I too have developed this ability, this callousness an unfortunate characteristic that I now carry.
However, for some reason my ability failed me on this morning and I really saw her. She was older, not elderly, but probably in her early 60’s and she seemed utterly alone. Worn out, several scabs on her lips, she seemed as if a strong wind could knock her over. It was a cold morning and I noticed she was wearing Crocs and no socks, it was a windy morning as well and I found myself wondering how terribly cold the hours after dawn must have been for her. She was not begging, she didn’t seemed inclined to, and uncharacteristically for me I walked over wished her a good day and placed a twenty-dollar bill on her tray. She blessed me and I left to go onto my bike ride.
I do not write this to look for any kind of accolades for what I did, it was an act of selfishness and shame. You see, I as many people do, can see a future where I could very well end up alone and it would take only a few poor turns for me to end up someday as she is now. I was in that moment ashamed that I have so much while she has so little, I was selfishly hoping that if I end up in her shoes, maybe someone who has more will be as kind to me, even if it is only on one cold morning.
Be grateful for what you have and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane