‘I cried that I had no shoes til I met a man who had no feet’~Mahatma Gandhi
By Tuesday of this week I had already convinced myself I was exhausted. I worked a twelve hour shift with students at a clinical site on Monday, taught all day Tuesday – life was indeed hard. In fact I am getting to a late start on this Friday since I then taught again on Wednesday and did another twelve hour shift yesterday. I am not bouncing back like I used to at all!
But as usual NPR gave me a knock on my head. Have you been hearing what is happening in Egypt? Sometimes we get caught up complaining about the most trivial things. Yet in other parts of the world there are people willing to die for change. I heard of protesters in Cairo who wrote phone numbers of their loved ones on their arms for purposes of notification. How do you go out in the morning prepared to die for a cause? The fight for Civil Rights in the USA began with people putting themselves in positions that could get them killed. Is there something you are so committed to that you would put yourselves in that much danger?
Many of the privileges we enjoy were obtained through the blood sweat and tears of those who went before us. Do we ever stop and give thanks for their sacrifice? As we complain about things that are not to our liking, do we consider that maybe it is up to us to make a difference, for those who will follow us?
There are times when we get upset with our family, observing behavior that frustrates us. When we get home tired and frustrated, instead of appreciating the welcoming cries of our young ones, we long for the peace and quiet of solitude. Last week I heard about one of my daughter’s classmates, whose life is frozen while she sits at the bedside of her six year old son, who is fighting an aggressive cancer. It is a sad reminder that we need to count our blessings.
It can be very frustrating to teach young adults who seem to want shortcuts to knowledge. The apps on our phones make us think that all of the answers we need can be found by touching a screen. And somehow this devalues the process of learning. You need to understand how things work, how to recognize when they don’t, what needs to be done when you see these things. I find myself getting very heated as I try to sell this concept of the effort needed to become a nurse. When I see students ‘cramming’ for a test I know I have not been successful. When a nurse goes to work, she has no idea which chapter she may have to pull from in the care of her patients, which significant signs and symptoms may present themselves. There is no cramming for the real world.
And there are parts of the world where young women are denied the opportunity to even attend school. The story of Malala Yousafzai should make you stop and give thanks for everything you and your family take for granted. Even after she was shot in the head for speaking out about education, she is still taking a stand. Again I ask, what would you (or I) be prepared to die for?
We all need to be reminded to stop whining, to stop thinking it is all about us, and get on with our lives. I myself have had to be reminded several times recently, as I got caught up feeling the pressure of work. Unfortunately I got no sympathy, because everyone else at work was feeling the same way! But we also have to be discriminating, and identify those things which can be improved or made more efficient, and those things over which we have no control. A bad economy has made many people accept deplorable work conditions, unreasonable expectations and in some cases abusive environments. Thinking of those who marched for better working conditions, for an end to discrimination, for humane treatment of workers, is it time for us to speak out?
This Friday morning I am trying to remember to appreciate what I have. I received a message from a sandwich (courtesy of Starbucks) which advised me to ‘Enjoy more, Worry Less’. I have taken the little strip of paper with this message and taped it to my computer screen. I am trying to practice what I preach, but it is always a work in progress!
Have a wonderful weekend Family, may you recognize how overfull your cup is, full of blessings, and love and opportunities. May you speak out against injustice wherever you see it. And may you appreciate your family every day.