IV – Gratitude

Life isn’t fair. When the shit hits the fan, it will not necessarily be evenly distributed. We know that those are facts of life. There are, however, those who think that life should be fair to everyone (many on the political far-right would call these people “snowflakes”). No, life ain’t fair at all. Life is a bitch that rapes whomever it chooses (some of the victims proverbially get it “without a kiss or lube”). If it were fair, we’d all have everything we need or want and the money to do it with. There wouldn’t be the Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates types (worth $150 billion and $90+ billion, respectively🤮) and the extremely dirt-poor and homeless people. There wouldn’t be people scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck.

Nonetheless, this disparity does exist. It’s hard even for me to say, but most everyone has much to be grateful for. Much as I complain about how crappy everything seems, I do have things to be thankful for.

First off, I’ve learned never to say that things “couldn’t be better [or worse]”, because life can always go farther in either direction.

Recently the air conditioner went out in my van—during the hottest week of the year. It was inconvenient. It was expensive to fix. However, a “good Samaritan” saw my Facebook post about it and sent me a check to help defray the cost of the repair. It was totally unexpected, but extremely helpful. I am grateful to the sender. In contrast, one of my coworkers had vehicle trouble while traveling through Oregon this last week. Their (she and her boyfriend) van’s transmission went out, and the shop said they also needed a radiator—about $5000 worth of work (of which they paid only part, but more than my repairs). They missed work and were stranded 1000 miles from home for a while. At least I have another vehicle I could use until I could get the A/C fixed.

I have a roof over my head. I have food and water/drink. My kids eat every day. I have employment. I’d love to get paid more (most of us would), but it’s a source of income, and it helps pay the bills. Many people don’t have any of the aforementioned necessities.

My kids are growing and learning. They are literate and intelligent. Many kids in the world aren’t able to go to school and learn.

I have access to a world of information and entertainment, via the Internet, television, music and social media. Much of the world doesn’t have the electronic accesses we take for granted.

My cars may not be brand-new, but they get me from point A to point B in one piece (except for one, which needs several hundred in repairs). I don’t have to walk miles to work or try to ride a bicycle in extreme weather. I read recently about a guy whose car broke down, so he walked 20 miles (one way) to his first day of a new job. His boss surprised him with a car for his dedication. It would take me several hours to walk 20 miles!😵

Speaking of walking, I’m not physically handicapped, so mobility is not an issue for me. There are many who are unable to walk or do many basic functions without some kind of assistance. I did suffer an injury at one time in my right arm, and that limits its mobility somewhat, but I can use it fairly normally. I can’t lift it to certain angles, but other functions are unimpeded.

At my job, I am cross-trained in every facet of back-of-house food preparation. I’m far from the best worker there, but I do know my stuff and can do most everything in the cooking department without assistance (unless it’s really busy, but that’s another matter). After being at this job for over four years, I’d better know the basics!

As I’ve said before, life can go better or worse in the blink of an eye. The band Journey, in their song Wheel In The Sky, said it like this:

Wheel in the sky keeps on turning

I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow

Or, in Any Way The Wind Blows by Southern Pacific:

Doesn’t matter if we lead or follow
No telling where we’ll be tomorrow

Goin’ somewhere, goin’ full throttle

Anyway the wind blows

No one knows what the future holds. It could lead to good fortune; it could be the end. It could just be more of the same. Whatever the future holds for us, let’s be grateful for all the good we have. Let’s “get in, sit down, shut up and hold on”. Buckle up, everyone! Let’s take the ride of our lives. Never forget, on the highway of life, one of the things of utmost importance: be safe and be well.

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