Danielle Elkins: Be thankful, as others have nothing
Last night, in the midst of preparing a dish to take to Thanksgiving dinner in Craig, I found myself being less than thankful because I miss my family in Virginia.
I would give anything to be at home with them, arguing with my mom over how much mustard goes into the deviled eggs and yelling at the kids to stay out of the kitchen until the food is done.
Fiddling with my phone today, I opened Timehop — a smartphone app that shows users their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts on the current day in past years — and I noticed that I had posted a Facebook status two years ago that said, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”
I’m sure that Google came up with that quote, not me, but there’s a great amount of truth to it.
I’ve been so spoiled by getting to spend Thanksgiving with my family each year that I didn’t even take the time to be thankful for the fact that, 24 hours and 1,587.9 miles from home, I am surrounded by wonderful friends who are taking the time to cook a delicious meal and spend the day together.
I failed, for a moment, to be thankful for the fact that I had a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table.
We’re all guilty of forgetting to be thankful that our basic needs are fulfilled, but there are people in this world who aren’t so fortunate.
I turn on my sink faucet to brush my teeth every morning without thinking about the 783 million people who have no access to clean water. Yet, whether I think about it or not, the United Nations reports that 6 to 8 million people still die annually from the consequences of water-related diseases.
While I’m enjoying my lunch every day, I don’t think about the 795 million people in this world who are reported by the World Food Programme to not have enough food to live a healthy life.
As I lie down at night, safe in my bed, I don’t think about the fact that there are people living overseas in the middle of war zones — some being our American soldiers — who don’t get to feel safe at night, and who are wondering if they’ll even make it to tomorrow.
Driving to work in my car, I don’t think about the people in this world who don’t even have the luxury of shoes, much less transportation.
When I’m complaining about having to go to the doctor, I don’t think about the report from the Associated Press in 2008 that 200 million children worldwide under age the age of 5 don’t have access to basic health care, leading to almost 10 million deaths annually from commonly treatable ailments such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
When I actually do stop to think about the fact that there are people in this world who are suffering tremendously but still finding it in themselves to be thankful for small things like a glass of water, a pair of shoes, a slice of bread or a few hours of peace and safety, I feel guilty for being so ungrateful.
There is always something to be thankful for if we only try to see things as they are rather than as we are.
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As Moffat County enters the final days before Nov. 2, there’s still time to cast ballots for local elections like school board and city council, county ballot measures and statewide initiatives.