Remember the water
I didn’t get killed by terrorists today.
In fact, I didn’t even awaken with the fear that I would, and I enjoyed the entire day without so much as a thought about the ravages of terrorism.
It seems like a strange thing to point out, doesn’t it?
I mean, no one in America spends their days in constant fear that a bomb could explode in their neighborhood, that this day could be their last.
And that is exactly my point.
Sit with that for a moment. Let it sink in.
This is an example of a profound truth I learned from my friend Dr. Paul Jenkins, who told me that as a life coach, his job is to “illuminate the obvious.”
“Every moment of every day,” he explained, “there are an infinite number of things of which we are completely unaware. Like the fact that we’re speaking English. You didn’t even think about that, did you? And now you are. Or that you’re wearing shoes. You notice them now, don’t you?”
And it clicks for me.
See, I’ve been extremely stressed lately. I’m trying to do too many things at once. I have too many balls I’m juggling and trying to keep in the air.
Queen Karina has been feeling it too. We are so flooded with opportunities that we’re struggling to keep our priorities straight and balance our time and commitments wisely.
And as we are talking things through on a walk, the obvious is illuminated and the light descends upon us:
- We are walking down a beautiful paved trail on the most gorgeous day you’ve ever seen in your life.
- We are walking in the middle of the morning when most people are at work.
- We are complaining about an abundance of opportunities, while more than 1.2 billion people across the globe subside on less than $1.25 per day.
- We wake up every single morning with the unconscious expectation that we will be safe, fed, clean, and comfortable.
The list is endless, we realize, and we have to shake our heads and laugh at ourselves and our relatively petty complaints.
We are fish in water, completely taking the water for granted when, without it, we would suffer and die.
The water is the things we most take for granted that for which we should be most grateful.
The water is the things we don’t even notice until they’re gone — and then the lack of them completely consumes our lives. (When was the last time you thanked God for oxygen, your fingers, or the checks and balances in the constitution?)
The water is the unquestioned expectation that every day the sun will rise, the water will turn on, the traffic lights will work.
“I never want to forget this,” I tell Queen Karina. “This is what I’m going to write in my Inspiration Weekly article: ‘Whenever you feel overwhelmed by your choices, step back and feel grateful for the awesome privilege of choosing itself.’”
We have a reason to feel grateful and to snicker at ourselves for our current stress: There was a time in our lives when our stress was caused by a lack of options.
“Would you rather have that challenge than our current one?” I ask Karina.
She shakes her head adamantly.
And we look at each other and hold hands and laugh in the sunshine.
We are walking. How many people can’t walk?
We are holding hands. How many couples are struggling just to hold on from day to day?
Our kids are healthy and waiting for us at home. How many children suffer from leukemia or don’t have a home?
Thanks, Dr. Paul, I think. I’ll do my best to remember the obvious water.