I recently took a sick day from work, as I had come down with a nasty virus that left me sniffling and coughing.
Home that morning, I snuggled into my comfy bed. All I wanted was to sleep and warm up my aching body. Slowly I felt myself warming up between the soft, squishy pillows underneath the down duvet and my thoughts started to drift.
I thought about how blessed I truly am to have this nice, warm bed in my comfortable home. As I could feel the hot air rising out of the furnace vents when outside it was snowy and the temperature hovered around -20 degrees Celsius, as it had for several days, I thought about the many people who are far less fortunate than I am.
I thought about the homeless people in the streets of our major cities, who do not have a nice bed to warm up in, even when they’re not feeling sick. Who have to sleep on park benches in the cold without proper cover—and I felt grateful for my bed.
I thought about those who do not have a house to go to at the end of the day, because they are down on their luck and have lost their homes or their jobs—and I felt grateful for the roof over my head and the job I sometimes complain about.
I thought about the elderly, who live in nursing homes or on their own, who are lonely because they do not have family or friends visiting them on a regular basis—and I felt grateful for my family and friends.
I thought about those who lost their parents at an early age—and I felt grateful to still have my now-aging parents in my life, even though they live far from me.
I thought about the sick, who are dying from cancer or other incurable diseases in hospitals every day—and I felt grateful for just having a cold.
I thought about those who struggle to feed themselves or their families in tough economic times—and I felt grateful for the good food that I eat every day.
I thought about those who live in areas of the world where they fear for their safety on a daily basis, the ones who have to leave their homes, possessions and even loved ones behind, because of war, famine and terror—and I felt grateful to live in this peaceful country.
I thought about those who live in refugee camps all over the world, especially Europe, not knowing if they will ever get to a safe place again where they can raise and educate their children—and I felt grateful that my children are living in safety.
I thought about those who live in countries where they cannot express themselves freely for fear of being imprisoned, tortured or killed by regimes that don’t uphold basic human rights—and I felt grateful for my freedom.
And, as it has been on the international news so often these past couple of weeks, I especially thought of those who are still living in Aleppo right now, who have nothing left and don’t even know if they will get out alive—and I felt grateful that, compared to them, I have everything.
We all, at times, feel that our lives are lacking. There are always things we wish we could buy and can’t afford, or trips we would love to go on but can’t pay for, but all in all we are lucky.
Most of us live lives in which all our needs are covered and there are few “wants” that are not achievable. It’s easy for us to get caught up in thoughts about what we don’t have and can’t do, but if we take a moment and contemplate all the things I thought of that morning, and if we remember that there are always many people far less lucky than us, we will realize how blessed we are—and how much more grateful we could and should be each and every day.
Author: Ingrid Bizio
Image: Ryan Moreno/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron