Friday, January 22, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Every year around Christmas, we sit down to watch the 1954 film "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen. With the recent events in Haiti, culminating in the impromptu telethon put together by MTV, one song from that movie pops into my head.

The song is "Count Your Blessings," and the first verse goes like this:
When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
Sometimes, disasters of such scale as that in Haiti serve to remind us how fortunate we are. I have a loving, patient, and understanding wife; a wonderful son who is sometimes challenging yet amazing. Unlike many in our own country, I have a job with somewhat decent health insurance, and I am able to do many of things I truly enjoy: camping, cooking, enjoying a glass of wine, enjoy a sunset without worrying whether I'll have a roof over my head when it gets dark and turns colder.

If there can be said to be anything positive out of events like the earthquake in Haiti, perhaps it is that such cataclysmic disasters jolt us - even for a moment - out of our complacency and remind us of our own mortality and also of our own good fortune. Such events can bring out the worst in people - remember the looting in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and even now the attempts by some to scam those unsuspecting people trying to help the victims in Haiti - but it can also bring out the best in people.

One thing I hope this disaster does for me and for you is to remind us of how precious life is and encourage us to live each day to its fullest. By that, I do not mean through conspicuous consumption, as is often seen to be the American Way. No, I mean by taking time to really see the world and the people around you.

Take the time to smell a rose, savor a walk in the woods, really see a sunrise or sunset, say hello to a neighbor or a co-worker, laugh, cry, truly be in the world around you. These are all things I have spent the last year in therapy trying to learn to do as I continue my own recovery efforts from the emotional upheaval of so many years ago and attempt to dig out from under that emotional rubble.

My hope is that the recovery effort in Haiti shows as much promise in a year's time as I feel my own personal recovery has shown over the last year. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to open your hearts and your wallets and make a donation to help relief efforts in Haiti at Hope For Haiti Now. And always remember to count your blessings.

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