Friday, September 13, 2013

A Curmudgeon Takes Stock

This won’t come as much of a surprise to those who have spent any extended amount of time with me, but I can be a fairly cynical and pessimistic person. I'm just wired that way. Cranky. That doesn’t mean I’m a hopeless person when it comes to social change and “making a difference.” It just means I expect a lot of those attempts to fail. ☺

But seriously, I am a sympathetic/empathetic person, but I also like to be upfront about challenges and struggles. So I’m not one to spout off little platitudes to make people feel better. I think little sayings like “Everything happens for a reason” and “When life gives you lemons…” are simplistic and rarely do I think they address the complex and difficult issues they are usually hurled at. But I’m going to trot out a well-used saying right here on the old blog:

Count your blessings.

Blessings?” some of you may say. “What blessings? Grumble grumble grumble...” I know. I’m a curmudgeon, too. Life is nasty, brutish, and short. ‘Tis true. But you do have blessings. Your nasty, brutish, and short life could be considerably nastier, more brutish, and much shorter than you know.

Earlier this week, I was sitting in the little office I sometimes use when I'm working in downtown Mwanza, and through the window, I watched a street kid walk into the little café that’s located outside my office door. He was on a mission, scouting empty bottles. He swooped in, grabbed some bottles off the table, got a few that were littered on the ground, then without hesitation, moved to each table and ate every scrap of leftover food off every plate that hadn’t yet been cleared. He then turned and walked away toward town, having just had one of the few meals he may have had for the day.

Count you blessings. Yes, life is difficult and full of hardship, but there are blessing to be found. It would do all of us good- myself most of all- to spend a bit more time recognizing that.

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