to be thankful

as we come to the close of a day where we ostensibly set aside time in order to reflect on the myriad of things we have to be thankful for, it seems fitting to, along with other bloggers all across america, take a moment to enumerate a few things for which i am thankful.

the difficult part in making a list like this is not coming up with a list of things that you can be thankful for, but really in figuring out where to start. despite what we learn on hgtv and tlc, we are all blessed in thousands of ways, living in luxury unimaginable to kings of 500 years ago. we so often take for granted the small conveniences of life – climate control, hot showers, the ability to turn a light on in the dark, water you can drink out of the tap – only dreams to the richest of people not so long ago. we’ve become numb to the lies of our culture, a continual barrage of media telling us our lives aren’t complete.

in contrast to that message is reality.

tonight i go to sleep after eating two fantastic meals, with more left-over food in my refrigerator than i can possibly eat in the next 4 days. 814,600,000 people will go to bed undernourished.

i can read and write, something 18% of the world cannot do.

though outdated now, the computer i am typing on cost 1,500 dollars, 25% higher than the world’s estimated median income. my ipod cost 1o% more than the 271 dollar per-capita income in kenya.

when i graduate with my ph.d., i will be more educated than 99% of the world – in fact more educated than 99% of america. by contrast 41,000,000 people in america over the age of 18 don’t have a high school degree. 944,000 have no formal education.

i could go on all night with numbers and statistics. statistics lie, but the stories behind them are real. each one of those numbers represents countless mothers, fathers, children who will go to bed tonight in need – some without the basic necessities of life.

but perhaps most of all, i am thankful for something i do not have – despair. while thousands of people lie awake tonight questioning the purpose of their lives, or sit at a bar stool waiting for the next round, or sleep fearful of the future, i go to sleep tonight hopeful – hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day, that together we will craft a better world, one day at a time.

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