Television, social media, and news sources are bringing into our homes horrible images of shellshocked human beings fleeing violence and war. It is overwhelming to watch in the current conflict in Ukraine, and it has been overwhelming to watch in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and on and on and on.
As I stated before, it is easy to become lost in the pain.
It is easy to watch it all and feel as if the mere watching of it is actually doing something.
This happens to me all too often. I mistake viewing for doing.
So, I created my own Top Ten List of things to do when the world is at war to help myself stay out of this kind of rut.
After I choose my news source wisely, after I give, and after I practice being where my feet are, I also (with great care) practice gratitude for the things in my own life I tend to overlook.
This is #4 on my list - Practice Gratitude.
I say "with great care" because what I am NOT saying is that I want to use other people's misfortune as some kind of springboard to think about or (even worse) talk about my own utterly undeserved fortune.
I am not saying that.
I am not saying - "Look at all those poor war refugees. Thank God my life is not like theirs." That is the worst kind of self-centering.
At the same time, it is these exact moments in world history that can serve as stark reminders that the things we take for granted on an ordinary day are things we would give an arm and a leg for if we lost them.
Things like a warm, safe bed.
A hot shower.
A cup of coffee prepared just how we like it.
An egg or two for breakfast; a perfectly toasted bagel.
A car that runs on highways that are not being bombed.
Gasoline, however expensive.
The chance to select and listen to multiple news sources.
The faces of our family members, in person or on a screen.
Animals to share a home with.
Silent air raid sirens. Unused storm cellars. Weapons with their safety locks on.
Another ordinary day.
Every one of these things pure gift.
So today ... Today I want to practice being grateful for each thing I take for granted.
Today, I am going to whisper the greatest prayer anyone has ever prayed and I am going to whisper it over and over and over again.
Thank you ... thank you ... thank you.