Life Lessons



    Life has a way of showing us things about ourselves that, at times, we don’t see. We often times complain about things…without giving it much thought. For instance, it would seem ridiculous to complain about how big our home is or isn’t….when there are homeless people walking our streets. And yet we do. We debate what we are going to eat for dinner…and there are people tonight who will go to bed hungry. We will complain about it being so cold outside, because we have to turn on the heat in our homes…and there are families…entire families who LIVE out in the cold…with no choice. The sad part is that we, as people, will donate time in homeless shelters or soup kitchens during Thanksgiving and Christmas. It will be publicized, on the television, even the President and his family will do it, during that time of year. I think it makes it worse when that is done, because now we can’t even claim ignorance. We can’t say…wow…I didn’t know people had to live like that; because the President of our country showed us these people on national television. But I wonder about something…if the condition of our country is so dire that a high ranking official is serving dinner to the homeless, on Christmas, what happens the other 364 days of the year? Why do we only want to show kinship, love and compassion during that time of year? Do we not realize that those same people are hungry ALL year long? But we turn a blind eye…caught up in our own lives. We are given the opportunity to show love and compassion, every day…but how many of us can say that we really actually do it?

  We complain, about the very gifts that we are given…as if we don’t appreciate them. I remember a time, when I was ill and in the hospital for an extended period of time. I was complaining, to myself, because my hair was long and thick and I couldn’t really get it to do what I wanted it to. And a woman came and sat beside me, in the rehab room, of the hospital. I watched her thumbing quietly through a magazine. At the time, I didn’t pay attention to the type of magazine. A therapist came over to her, because the woman was softly sobbing to herself. I can remember the therapist telling the woman that she would help her select a wig, and reassuring her that no one would know it wasn’t her natural hair. The woman was a cancer patient. She was softly crying because she didn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to herself…she was in the process of chemotherapy and was losing large amounts of hair. And I was complaining about a hairstyle. I have never felt so awful…rightfully so. Because even though I am not the reason she was losing her hair…I was being ungrateful for what I had. 

 It is so easy to forget and be thankful for the very gifts that we take for granted. There are hundreds of examples of instances where we are ungrateful for that moment.  We complain about having to take the stairs, because the elevators are broken…be thankful; you aren’t in a wheelchair.  We complain that the sun is too bright…I’m sure a blind person would love that opportunity. We take even the simplest things for granted…the ability to walk, talk, hear, and see.  Give thanks for what you have, and find a way to give back. It’s great if you lead a privileged life…but doesn’t that mean that you have the means to assist someone else? I am not talking about charity…but lifting others up. If you run a successful business…what would it hurt to donate your time, speaking to youths that may just need a little encouragement? Donate time to a recreation center or even at a public library where you can simply read a book to some children. When we reach out to people…the response is love. Even if the response seems angry…remember they probably haven’t had an easy life. Speak with your heart, and hearts will respond. People just want to matter. They want hope…what is wrong with giving them at least that much?

 Do you know why drug abuse and gangs are so prevalent; because gang members convince children and young adults that they are “family”.  And in a lot of cases, those young minds don’t have anyone else showing them anything differently. There are fathers or mothers in jail or prison…and children left to raise themselves. The parent left to raise the children has to work more than one job, just to make ends meet. Its no wonder that children turn to violence…they have seen nothing else. Do you know how hard it is to do the right thing when you have little or nothing to go on as an example?

  But I have great news, because love is free. It’s a gift from God…and meant to be given away. Be thankful for whatever you have been blessed with…and give back whenever it is possible. We are supposed to love each other…it isn’t a new idea…but it is necessary for our survival.

 In the length of time it took you to read this…you could have told ten children that you love them.