Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life is Good

My recent reading list has included Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, and February by Lisa Moore. So today I'm going to be grateful for living somewhere where I don't have to lie sleepless on the floor of my hallway in fear of being bombed in the night: for being able to pour a glass of water from the tap whenever I want: for being able to cross the street without wondering if I'm in a sniper's sights: for knowing my husband goes to work somewhere where his life isn't constantly endangered by poor safety standards and the capriciousness of the ocean.


I think it's important to read books like this, to know that some places and some lives are so different, to know why people flee their homelands and what they've left behind, to know, in my case, how good we really have it. No place and no life is unassailable, of course. Catastrophic illness and injury and horrible accidents can happen anywhere. The expression 'live every day as if it was your last' has often bothered me. How is it really possible to live every day as if it was your last and then have something left over for the next day when that day doesn't turn out to be your last? Then I think I realized that it doesn't mean to spend all your money and burn your house down -- it means not to miss any opportunities to have an adventure, to wear the clothes that make you feel like a princess, to tell people you love them, to help someone without worrying about looking odd, to sing out loud and laugh until your cheeks hurt.

I'm so far from perfect. I've gotten better at not collapsing in hysterics when tiny little things go wrong, but I still behave really indefensibly sometimes, considering how great my life is. It makes me feel helpless in a way, knowing that this is fiction based on horrible things that really happen, all the time -- bearing witness somehow doesn't seem to be enough. But for a start, I'm just going to try to be more grateful.

1 comment:

Amber said...

It is hard to know how to react when confronted with how obviously privileged we are. I think that recognizing it and feeling grateful is an excellent first step, for sure.