Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving with a side of guilt

Like most of us, I often let myself get bogged down in third world problems.
  • How to get the photos off my phone and onto the backup hard drive 
  • Is it time to tell Alison to stop with the full-bellied laughs over South Park that the neighbors can hear
  • Frustrations at work 
And then I open the paper to find stories like this and I realize how fortunate I am to be born in the U.S. where the most we do to inappropriately dressed people is put them on a People of Walmart post or, if the perpetrators are in LA, bow to their fame and beauty.

It's so easy to ignore the news or tell yourself "It can't happen here," "It doesn't really affect me" "I don't need to know that." I'm a bit of a news junkie and I almost put down the paper this morning and turned to TMZ to distract myself.

My problems are not real!
  • My friend Google and I could do it if I was the damn administrator or knew our IT codes. As it is, I just need to get them from the Captain. Think about that: my only restriction to the Internet is my own ignorance. In countries right now, people could be whipped or killed in a public square for violating limits on use and going to sites where others deem they shouldn't go. We're not talking porn or criminal activity. Meanwhile, they kidnap women for troop entertainment.
  • Alison is a kid. Table manners aside, her laughter lights my world and I should revel in every note.
  • Frustrations aside, I have a good job. Heck. I have a job. Lots of people don't and wish they did. 
It's so easy to get overwhelmed today. So many choices, too little time or energy. As we go into this Thanksgiving week and the holidays to come, I'm going to try really hard to do a better job of appreciating my place in this world. I would like to say I'm going to do something that will change the fortunes of people who have real problems. I don't know yet what that would be.

My charitable contributions generally go closer to home; organizations I'm either involved in or close to that help people and kids in my backyard. I support politicians who put humanity ahead of ideology. I try to set a good example.

I'm feeling really unhelpful to the world right now as I sit in my warm house in my warm clothes with more food and drink on hand than I need with a healthy, beautiful, smart kid who's streaming video and howling at the antics of animated 4th graders. I have a healthy, employed husband out playing basketball and anticipating an afternoon of The Red Zone football.

I don't know what I can or will do to help others in the future; who those others might be or where they might live. I'm pretty sure I can stop complaining about how difficult my life is, though. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

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