I received a great card the other day, from one of my oldest friends. On the front it says:
The best things in life...
When you open the card, it reads:
aren't things. They're people like you.
I was blown away by the truth of this statement. Having lived on this planet for more than a half a century, I've accumulated a great deal of stuff. Some of it has monetary value. Some has sentimental value. Yet, if I lost it all, but still had my husband, my family, my friends, I'd hardly be much poorer. In fact sometimes I feel as though the material items in my life are more a burden than a blessing. (Other times, of course, I'm lusting after a new laptop to replace my 9 year old Thinkpad, or a new music player that has a switch that works so I have some control over what I listen to!)
The recent unbelievable set of disasters in Japan hammer make this realization all the more relevant. Whole towns were wiped off the map by the tsunami. It may take ten years to rebuild the infrastructure. Yet the greatest loss was the thousands of individual lives swept away by the waves or crushed beneath crumbling buildings.
Lots of people lost everything they owned. If their family and friends came through safely, though, I count them as rich.
As for me, I feel humbled by all my blessings. I'm going back to the U.S. next week, to see my siblings and parents for the first time in a year. I'm so grateful that they're all well. They're precious to me. I'm also going to be attending a 60th birthday party for another dear friend, someone I've been close to for more than thirty years. It's just luck that our trip coincides with this event. Or maybe one of those small miracles that happen all the time, but that we so frequently ignore.
I have the best things in life. The next time I start to complain about how much work I have to do, or about how my back aches, or about how clunky and slow my computer is... I'll just stop and remind myself.