I’ve been thinking that one of the reasons it’s so hard to be grateful, is that most of us are lucky enough NOT to have been without something or someone. So we know we should be grateful for the fact that water is as abundant in our homes as air, because we’ve never had to walk for two hours to get water, wait on a line to pump it, then walk back for two hours with it balanced on our heads. We saw this situation in Uganda ten years ago—clearly hasn’t gotten much better in many parts of the world. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/world/africa/niger-children-miss-school-to-search-for-water.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Water, food, fresh produce, huge steaks and other assorted Bar-B- Q fare– it’s just there in our lives—always has been, always will be, yeah we’re grateful, but hard to get to excited because although philosophically we know one day it might be gone, we’re thinking, really…? for most of us- it’s always been that way, where is it going?!
“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone…”
Joni Mitchell, Big Blue Taxi
I’ve recently been thinking about this because in addition to the food, water, air conditioning, vacations, computers, yadda yadda that we take for granted, we probably take our friends, our colleagues at work, for granted even more. I’m not trying to delve into something that’s a really downer and a given, like how much we’d miss our friends/colleagues if they died—I’m thinking about how our life changes if our friends just aren’t around any more—they retire, go to another job, move to another city… An acquaintance of mine who has worked in an organization for over 30 years, is the only one left after a new management team retired or fired everyone around her. She said to me, “I don’t even know anyone to have lunch with!”
When I started working where I am, I had a lot of colleagues with similar values and ideas, people who I believe were thoughtful, honest and true. Over the years, many of them were offered other positions, decided to travel, retire or take up raising alpacas. I took for granted that they’d always be around to share concepts and toss around viewpoints and strategies for life. I miss them.
So I am grateful for the good people that are still there—that cause work to be interesting, occasionally fun, often funny. In the very first Mincha Moment I wrote, “Be grateful that you work with at least some people you like.” Believe me, you can’t be grateful enough.