(Photo by Selma Komisky)
The “Small Things”
By Michelle Ochen
Thankfulness. We talk about it every year as November rolls around. As we ponder it, we set goals to cultivate it into our daily lives, but how quickly we forget to count our blessings, getting sucked into the normality of life. We tend to take for granted the “small things” and forget to appreciate the daily blessings. I am certainly guilty of doing this. I want to cultivate a heart of thankfulness, but I find myself quick to forget and clouded by my own entitlement.
Come with me for a moment, as we investigate this idea of the “small things” that we have to be thankful for. Perhaps you will find, as I have, that they are not that small at all.
In my early 20s, I had the privilege of living overseas for nearly five years. I lived in a third-world country, and those years changed my outlook on thankfulness. The things I take for granted on a daily basis and consider the “small things” are not small to most of the world.
This is a normal day for me: sound familiar?
I wake up on a mattress each morning, have the opportunity to eat a substantial breakfast if I choose. I hop into my personal vehicle, probably make a call on my private phone before I enter a building to do a job I am faithfully and fairly paid for every hour I give. At the end of the day, I come back to a home, where I have another meal and enjoy leisure time on entertainment devices, or practice hobbies.
These things are our day-to-day, but these things are not the norm for many across the globe. Most of the world wakes up on small pads, or worse. If they are fortunate enough to have a mattress, they share it with others and store it during the day, as their home is not large enough to have a private bedroom. Walking far, many will go to a job that pays little and demands much, or struggle to find work. Often without multiple meals in a day, an individual will work 12 hours or more, only to return to a one-room home. Entertainment is not an option when electricity is limited and life demands hand washing clothes, and dishes occupy most of their extra time. This is life in many places, where the things we consider “small” from our first-world perspective would be considered luxury from a third-world perspective.
Sometimes entitlement clouds our view of thankfulness and causes us to overlook the many things we truly have to be thankful for. I used to think I was grateful for my cell phone, but thought I could be more grateful if I had a newer model like all my friends had. After spending years afar, I realized that having a phone, period, is a reason to be grateful, and is more than many. It’s all about perspective when it comes to thankfulness.
The next time you roll out of bed and make the two-foot decline from your mattress, count a blessing. The next time you make a nutritious breakfast before rushing out the door, count a blessing. The next time your cell phone rings, count a blessing, and another for the friendship on the other end of the line. The next time you receive a paycheck on time for the hours you put in, count a blessing. The next time you enjoy a second meal in the day, count a blessing. The next time you turn on your tv, or watch a movie, or throw those clothes in a washing machine, count a blessing. We have been blessed, and when our perspective is enlightened, we find that we have countless things to be thankful for each day.
Truly our “small things” are not small at all.