Reading the reports from what may be the biggest typhoon ever to hit land in recorded history, I am sick in the pit of my stomach for those whose families are not safe and individuals who may have lost their homes, loved ones or even life itself. It is both easy and difficult to be grateful in times like these.
On Day 1 of this challenge, I established that I wanted to be mindfully grateful for something specific each day of the month. And I had intended to focus on one thing in particular. But, in light of what people are experiencing halfway around the globe, I am finding it difficult to focus my gratitude in one direction so today is a bit more encompassing.
Day 8 – November 8th – I am profoundly grateful for the safety of my family and the warmth and security that comes with having a stable roof over our heads, clothing on our backs and food on our table.
Sturdy walls and a roof, electricity on demand, plumbing, food. These are things I take for granted every day despite the fact there are people around the globe that consider them often unattainable luxuries.
Today my gratitude comes not from suddenly realizing how fortunate I am to live in a first world country, it comes from watching Typhoon Haiyan suddenly rip those staples of our daily lives from people who are used to them as well.
And then thinking, “That could have been us.”
Just like a cancer diagnosis from left field, the typhoon came and changed everything for everyone in its path. Across an entire country, there are few places that we can expect to be unaffected based on the size and severity of the storm. Houses are obliterated and families are shattered in a country of over 96 million people.
And yet my family is warm (even though I am still steadfast in my refusal to turn on the heat!), well-fed and dry.
Empathy is important but I believe it is equally important refrain from allowing empathy to lead to complete emotional devastation.
So, I will do what I can do from my corner of the world: donate to the Red Cross and send positive vibes to an entire country while pausing to be profoundly grateful for the safety of my family and the current security of our home.
NOTE: If you'd like to spend the month in a similar state of gratitude, you can play along with me here in the comments section or check out KindSpring.org to sign up for their 21-day Challenge that began on November 7th.