It's easy for us to look at our lives and find something that's not going right, something to complain about.
We complain about our cars not working, not having enough vacation from work or not affording to go on vacation, not having a newer version of a cellphone, not having enough money to buy our children their desired Christmas gifts, etc.
I call these first world problems. These are "problems" that are felt by some people who live in first world countries while they are luxuries for people who live in third world countries. The fact that a car is not working means that we had a car in the first place. The fact that we are complaining about not having enough vacation from work means that we have work that pays us some kind of income. Not having the latest cellphone means that we do have a cell phone and we have people in our lives that own phones and are able to communicate with. Not having enough money to buy our children the Christmas gifts means that we actually entertain the idea of buying Christmas gifts and we have children to buy them for.
In order for us to really count our blessings, it's important to look at what other people have and see if we should be really complaining about what we have or don't have.
Having lived in a third world country and a first world country, I do understand both of these worlds and often think of my fellow brothers and sisters that are still living in third world countries, specifically, in refugee camps.
I would like to share with you a true story of a fellow refugee who now lives in Massachusetts. My friends, who I will call Jane, and her sister-in-law, who I will call Mary, were living in refugee camps in Congo for many years. At one point, they had gone three days without eating or drinking anything. The United Nations had stopped delivering food to the camps and these women were almost starving to death. Jane and Mary got so desperate and had to find a solution or else they were going to die.
After many hours of thinking and deliberating how they were going to keep themselves from starving to death, Jane and Mary came up with an idea:
They would find cups, urinate in them, put some sugar in the urine and drink it to hold them over until they were able to find something to eat or drink.
This sounded like a grand idea, a life-saving and reassuring idea, but there was one problem; Jane's body could not produce urine. She was extremely dehydrated. She tried to urinate in her cup for so long but her body would not cooperate with her. She got on her knees and prayed and cried for urine but this didn't happen. Luckily, Mary was able to produce a few drops and the women put some sugar in it and shared it.
These are some of the problems that third world country people, especially refugees, face. The amazing thing about these people is that they are so thankful for the little that they have. Yes, they would like more, they would like less hunger, not having to urinate in a cup and drinking their own urine for nutrition, more clothing, some healthcare, etc. but they are very thankful for the little they have. They are happy to be alive, because most of their families and friends didn't make it.
Let's challenge ourselves to first look at our lives and think of our fellow brothers and sisters in other parts of the world before we complain about what we don't have.
Let's not be quick to call our lives miserable, depressing and painful, but look for the few things that we have that matter the most: our families, food on our table, a safe place to sleep, and the money to help pay for public transportation, etc. Most importantly, let's remember that someone, somewhere, is praying to live the miserable and stressful lives we think we are leading.