Be Grateful: Others do with a lot less

h/t to Fred Leland for this quote:  “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” ~James Allen

When I was a kid, my mother would tell me when I didn’t want to finish my food, “Some child in China is starving right now.” I heard this often, and would grudgingly try my best to finish whatever was left on the plate. Such a first world problem –trying to get your child to eat, would make anyone in the third world shake their head. The lesson was –whether it was eating what was cooked for us, or learning how to take care of the things we owned, was to be mindful and grateful for what we had. But sometimes abundance can make people forget.

Over the past few months, a woman who is retiring with a state pension and benefits has been complaining about her job. The job has given her ample time off to travel the world, to be able to pursue a hobby of collecting stuff, it’s enabled her and her husband to have a nice house.

I wanted to tell her that at least she wasn’t hauling an 80 pound pack, wondering if the next step was going to get them blown up or shot at. At least she wasn’t raising 3 small children while pursuing an education or working, wondering if her spouse were going to make it home from deployment.

I wish she knew of the courage and strength our veterans and their families show from the battlefield to their civilian lives. The paths our lives take aren’t straight: they’re filled with peaks and valleys, with curves and straight-aways. We’re all tested, and growth only happens when we choose not to settle for complacency. I see veterans going to school, essentially starting anew, or veterans, starting new jobs and careers. Some of these jobs don’t even tap into the team building, leadership or project execution skills they have. But they keep at it, knowing that if they’re persistent and present, the path will grow more interesting, interesting and helpful people will come their way, and they’ll progress.

Perhaps she should just be grateful for what she has and realize, no one forced her into the job in the first place, and it was her choice to keep the job for the long haul. She’ll retire on her pension, and have benefits. A lot of our veterans would love to be in her position.

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