we got it good

At the close of the nightly PBS news hour they often air an ongoing honor role of troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. A photograph of each fallen soldier is accompanied by name, rank, age and hometown. Saddened, this always gives me great pause to know that they’ve been lost to someone.

Similarly, I am frequently struck by hearing the news of tragedy that befalls so many innocents in the world: victims of Katrina, of the earthquake and displacement and epidemic in Haiti, of the floods in Pakistan, of the tsunami in Indonesia, of the famine, genocide, disease, neglect, war, exploitation, wrongful imprisonment and poverty of millions of our fellow mankind.

Sometimes I sink into despair when I reflect very deeply about our own situation with Calvin. I consider the thumping he takes from his uncontrolled seizures. I think of the debilitating side effects he suffers from the drugs he has to take. I ponder his compromised and uncertain cognitive abilities, his visual and physical deficits and the limits, therefore, placed on him. Daily, I am reminded of—and I mourn—the loss of his ability to make true friends and to do the things that his peers can do. For my loss of the promise of what parenthood could be, and on behalf of my family, I grieve.

But then I turn my thoughts to the unfortunate, to those who have only the shirt on their back and who have lost their home, their parents, their children or their entire family. I consider the millions who have no running water, no heat, no clothes, no doctors, no schools, no human rights, no job, no food, no security, and I am deeply humbled.

Calvin, on the other hand is—and for that matter many of us are—warm and dry and fed and clothed. We benefit from outstanding medical and educational services. We have an ample, comfortable home, and clean hot water on demand. We can buy what we need—or simply desire—from the store or the Internet at any given moment. We have recreation, we have leisure, we have community. We are free. Most importantly for us we can provide for Calvin and he is loved beyond measure.

I must practice taking nothing for granted in this life. I must show great compassion and understanding to others. I must share what I have with those in need. I must be mindful of how fortunate we are. I must remember that we got it good.

The Irish Famine by George Frederick Watts

1 comment:

  1. First of all, Christy, I love your style of writing. It is eloquent without being "preachy" and I understand only to a small degree the message you are sending. When we were in a "depression" (and we may still be), I thought, "Are you kidding me? This is a depression? Where are the soup lines?" I mean, sure, I no longer have the high paying job I had at L.L. Bean (since I walked out one day disgusted with their corporate agenda), and it took me a few tries before I found a job that made a little less than a living wage so I took on a cleaning job to supplement my income, but somehow many of us (and I do not mean those that have had their houses foreclosed on or are currently homeless) still have cell phones and cable and internet and I feel as though the sacrifices we are having to make are ridiculously minor compared to what happens in third world countries. Maybe we are afraid if we acknowledge it, we may have to do something about it.