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February 22, 2010
Time For A Little Perspective
"It's just too scary out there. Our SUV is three years old, and we've decided we're just going to keep it rather than get a new one." This quote came from an associate of mine last week, and I almost choked on the sip of coffee I had taken while he was talking. Wow, talk about sacrifice!

I did not bother to tell him my cars are eight and six years old, respectively, completely paid for, and will be occupying my garage for the foreseeable future. Hey, if he thinks he's got it bad, I'm sure he doesn't want me to burst his bubble with a reality check.

Then again, my own reality seems to be constantly in check. At church a few weeks ago, a video was shown of a member (Joe) who recently returned from a mission trip to South America. He spoke of a conversation with a young man who explained he had saved his money for two years to purchase a 13-inch television. He was extremely proud of his TV, and asked Joe if he had a television.

Quite sheepishly, Joe responded he actually had five televisions, and where they were located in his modest house. After expressing shock about the number of TVs this fellow owned, the young man added "You have more than one room in your house?"

At this point in the video, Joe admitted he was feeling humbled, even though he does not in any way, shape, or form consider himself wealthy. The young man pressed on, asking Joe if he had any vehicles. Joe felt a little better about this question, as his two cars were fairly old and had quite a few miles on them. As an aside, he mentioned he also had an old truck to haul firewood.

"You have a truck that you only use to haul firewood??!!" The video stopped shortly after, but not until Joe passed along his message that the inconveniences of our lives are nothing compared to 90% of the world's population.

Personally, the last three months have been pretty rough. I herniated a disk in my lower back in early December, and am still struggling to regain my mobility. Last week I learned my dad has prostate cancer. Saturday morning I woke up with a toothache.

My back is healing, albeit much more slowly than I anticipated. My dad's cancer was detected early and has a high cure rate. I can afford a dentist to fix my tooth problem. My wife and kids are healthy and happy. My dog brings joy to us every day. There is a roof over our heads and cars in the garage that can take us where we want to go. The lights come on when I flick the switch, there is a dialtone on the phone line, and I can watch every second of the Olympics regardless of all the different cable channels are broadcasting.

I am never hungry unless I choose to be, and I never have to be concerned with getting sick by drinking the water that comes out of my faucet. The garbageman takes away my trash every week, and the sewer lines take away everything else. Maybe all we need is a little perspective now and then to shut us up. It seems to work for me!

Make it a great week.


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