I was going to write a post lamenting about how Chicago weather sucks and how I have to let my dogs out the front of my house because the sliding door into our fenced in yard is frozen shut, even after being blasted by the space heater for the past four plus hours. Or how my normally happy, content baby is suffering from her first cold (I think) and is alternately her happy, normal self and then very unhappy and clingy. I was going to post something funny (in my opinion) about what the heck were the people who settled in Chicago thinking, after spending their first winter here. But then I got an email from my dad. I won't copy the email here, because A) it is pretty long and B) I am not sure about copyright type things and since it was obviously written by someone else (not my dad) I don't want to get sued or something.
My dad works in emergency management. He is always prepared for a disaster. He had us stocking up on canned food in case bird flu happened. And he is well informed. The email he forwarded me was a list of the natural disasters, famines, really bad crap that happened around the world this past weekend. It included brief synopsises of disasters such as a cholera outbreak in Africa, an earthquake in Greece and record snowfalls across Europe. While the email was more informative to facilitate dialogue amongst emergency management personnel across the globe, my dad forwarded it to me with the general tone of think about how lucky you are. It wasn't sent in a condescending tone, more of a gentle reminder that while things may seem bad, there is always someone who has it worse.
This email got me thinking about how lucky I really am. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, loving and close family, and really great friends. I have a roof over my head, power coming into my house. It is freezing outside, but I am toasty, even if I do actually take my dogs outside for them to do their business. While my daughter has a little cold and is not quite her usual self, I don't have to worry too much because I have access to top notch medical care and insurance that means I don't have to question taking my child to a doctor if absolutely necessary, because I know the bills will be taken care of. But even if I didn't have insurance, I still have access to hospitals and doctors and everything that goes along with modern medicine. And I have a car to take her to the doctor, if necessary. And while I didn't get the best nights sleep last night, my arms weren't aching to hold a child that was so ill she had never been home from the hospital, like a girl I went to high school with. I have a stocked pantry and freezer. I have enough clothes to bundle up and not have to do laundry for a long time. I am lucky enough that, while not rich by any means, I am able to stay home with my daughter all day instead of having to juggle multiple jobs just to have a place to live.
My thoughts are a little scattered here, but my point is pretty clear. When we think about how much we have and how much others in the world, even in our communities, don't, we can gain a little perspective. And by virtue of the fact that you are sitting in front of a computer reading this, I think you realize the little things we take for granted.