Monday, March 14, 2011

Grateful for the Problems I Have

Life gets in the way of the things I want to do.  I try to convince myself that what I want to do is what Life should be focusing on.  But no.  Life has its own damn agenda and it more often than not only includes me as so much excess baggage.  I get swept along by events unforeseen and not prepared for.  And suddenly the comfortable little rut I had constructed for myself has become a minefield.
I sidestep as many mines, pitfalls, and incidents that promise ugly outcomes as I can.  I cannot avoid them all......................................................And then I notice that while I have become totally wrapped up in my own puny problems, elsewhere on the planet, folks are dealing with problems of the Life and Death kind. 

Suddenly I feel foolish.  Suddenly I realize that for all the little irritations I have to deal with, there are people right now whose home washed away and their family is missing, or they are on some desert road with their life's belongings on their back and hoping some jet doesn't decide to fling bullets their way, or they are facing some kind of awful death as a disease works its way through their refugee camp.  As bad as I would like to pretend my life gets from time to time, I am fairly sure a sizable portion of the planet's population would love to switch places with me.

Owing more money than is coming in is a laugher when held up and compared to say, being buried up to your neck and watching the village line up next to the rock pile.  Water in my basement seems a minor league distraction when watching a tsunami take out a town of 17,000.  Scowling and cussing under my breath when another ATV/Snowmobile screams by disturbing my peace seems so petty when somewhere over the desert of northern Africa, fighter jets are screaming by and strafing lines of people whose only crime is trying to get away.

Being the typical American human,  focusing first on my problems rather than anyone else's is predictable if not understandable.  Average Joes such as myself tend to do this.  But then we really have to focus on what's in front of us.  It's all we have and for the most part all we can do.  We rise to occasions as needed and fall back to normality when the fires have been doused.  Dealing with the mundane is what keeps everything afloat.  Dealing with disaster is what we do to try and get everyone back on the boat so the focus can again be directed to the routine problems of keeping a society cohesive and moving in a good direction.

Anyway, just some Monday morning thoughts after watching catastrophe once again visit some fellow humans.  Sadness settles in with that second cup of coffee and I sit stunned.  My only consolation is my gratitude for the relatively peaceful existence I have been blessed with.  No matter how bad we think our lives are unfolding, there is always someone else carrying a burden we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy.

Keep it 'tween the ditches..............................................


T. Paine said...

A well-needed reminder, sir. Well done post!

squatlo said...

We tend to wrap our own miseries around us like a banner sometimes, and every now and then events elsewhere cause us to examine that cloak in a more critical light. Great post, and it ought to be required reading today.
I don't pray, but I'll be thinking about those folks in harm's way today.
Thanks for the reminder.

Kulkuri said...

So true.

The Blog Fodder said...

Well said.


yup...I just quit whining about any and everything after this happened.

Tom Harper said...

"Keep it 'tween the ditches."

A very good, concise philosophy.

robin andrea said...

So true, thanks for reminding us.

okjimm said...

//Suddenly I feel foolish//

well don't. good introspection is a road to understanding. If you cannot begin within.... it is hard to get without.

BBC said...

I've been through a lot of things in my 67 years and think I handled most of them well, but those poor folks sure have a mess over there.

All I had to bitch about today was the rain. And I'm going to keep bitching about things, bitch on.

susan said...

You're correct that everything else seems trivial in contemplation of these disasters. We've become aware that our global citizenship involves shared suffering without us having the means to vote.

MRMacrum said...

T. Paine - Thanks. Something tells me you did not need the reminder though.

squatlo - It is indeed easy to not see the forest for the trees. Thanks.

Kulkiri - Sometimes I still insist on pointing out the obvious. More to point it out to myself.

Blog Fodder - Appreciate the atta boy.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY - I didn't quit. I'm just keeping it to myself.

Tom Harper - Back in my "over the road" days, all us CBing badass truckers had sign offs when we said goodbye. Like "Catch you on the Get Back", or "Watch out for Smokie", etc. Mine was "Keep it 'tween the ditches". And yes, it became my philosophy, my overall Life credo with mixed results.

robin andrea - Again, I would guess of all my blogging buds, you and Roger are the two who would never need reminding.

okjimm - Absolutely, but the feeling still passed over me.

BBC - Bitchin is a right no one can take away. You go right ahead and bitch. You have been around long enough to deserve the privilege.

susan - and again, the Internet and it's spin offs tie us closer to people we only heard about, and now we know.

ain't for city gals said...

While watching the news last night I turned to my husband and said...we can prepare all we want for the future but when your house goes sliding away all the worry and preparing doesn't do much good...all we have is today if we are lucky...

John Myste said...

Two things come to mind, sir. One, the opening is very quotable, and indeed shall be quoted elsewhere: "But no. Life has its own damn agenda and it more often than not only includes me as so much excess baggage."

Secondly, my mother used to admonish me against petty self-pity with the tired old memory of the man with no shoes who met the man with no feet and felt small. Since that time, she has lost two toes and counting, so perhaps she can soon lament her situation with impunity.

Nonetheless, my complaint is not intended to diminish another's pain or to exaggerate my own. It is to express my disappointment in the conspicuous lack of shoes, which I think is appropriate so long as I don't dwell on it. Some people, a good many, have troubles that trump mine. Their sorrow does nothing to protect my feet from the blistering conditions of a shoeless pedestrian’s life. Regardless of the amputee’s condition, I have no shoes and I need them.

Beach Bum said...

No matter how bad we think our lives are unfolding, there is always someone else carrying a burden we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy.

Damn straight! Although I know a few mega-assholes (enemies) that I would not piss on if they were on fire.

Mr. Charleston said...

Reminds me of my favorite Woody Allen quote: Life is divided between the horrible and the miserable. Be thankful you're miserable.

MRMacrum said...

ain't for city gals - Today is all there is. Today is all we know for sure, the past already being tweaked by rose colored glasses or being tweaked by memeories of the painful kind.

John Myste - As a child, when I felt persecuted or that Life sucked, I would pout. My mom used to tell me "You stick that lip out any further, you're going to trip over it." Yeah wallowing in self pity was not a family trait at our house either.

But your point is well taken. Another's misery does nothing to alleviate your own. But it does put yours in perspective.

Beach Bum - I used to have enmies like that. And maybe I still do. But I find my vengeful nature is more trouble to keep up than it's worth. For twenty years I told myself if I ever saw this one guy again, I would dot his eye. I even told him that. I never ran into him again, and now I just don't care. Hating him gave him more of my time than he was worth.

Mr Charleston - With so much misery out there why is it we have to suffer it alone most of the time?