The Gift of Misfortune

Stress induced writers block. That is always how it begins. First, I have a bad day at work and instead of going home and doing what would be healthy and write, I let myself become consumed in my frustration only preventing my art to be the release I need. Soon enough, the writing withdraw sets in and now I am left with a feeling of emptiness and stress. Stress builds and it soon takes the ugly form of letting the mess in my mind pour out into my life. I feel like nothing is going right. I hate my job. I hate my hair. I hate my friends. I hate my wardrobe. I hate everything. Poor me. How pathetic…

Then, I wallow in a moment of self-pity that soon turns to guilt because while I am sitting here complaining about my job, there are people praying for a job. While I’m fussing over my hair, there are cancer patients who have just lost theirs. At the moment that I feel unhappy with my social life, someone has left a note behind to their family explaining why bullying and lack of friends has led them to death by their own hand. As I look through my closet in disgust and question my fashion sense, a poor family riffles through bins at a local Goodwill looking for the most discounted pair of socks they can afford. “Poor me?” I ask myself again. “How selfish am I”?

I can’t hate myself for having a bad day and feeling sorry for myself in a moment of PMS meltdown. However, I can pull myself together and realize that everything I think I have to be sorry about, I actually have to be grateful for. You see, I may not always love my job with a burning passion, but never the less, it is exactly that, a job. It is a steady source of income that prevents me from sleeping on the streets and supplies me with food to nourish my body. Not only that, but because I have a job, I am privileged enough to purchase hair care products and buy nice clothes that I wear out to events with my friends. I have so many things to be grateful for, and instead, I find myself hating it all at times. How pathetic is that?

There was a time when I called Los Angeles my home and was literally living off of canned goods and top ramen. When presented with an extra twenty dollars on a pay check, I was thrilled! That meant that I could actually buy bread that wasn’t on the day old rack this week and possibly even purchase meat to barbecue rather than eating bologna like a fillet. Now, being fortunate enough to have a roof over my head and a fairly decent paying job, Starbucks has gone from a once in a while absolute treat to a nearly every day expense that is just factored into my normal budget. I have to remember that I wasn’t always as fortunate as I am today, and while I still appreciate my coffee, I do sometimes take the luxury for granted. I often take a lot of the things in my life for granted.

A few months back, I decided that for everything I found to complain about in my life, I must find a positive to that negative. I don’t want to ever allow myself to become so shallow and high on a pedestal that I forget what a gift it is to have a car instead of hating the one I have and wishing for a Mercedes. Yes, I have my days where things don’t go the way I want them to. Yes, I will admit that the little girl inside of me will throw a tantrum that I refuse to let the world see. Then, I have to remember that the tantrum I am throwing on the inside is simply that, a tantrum. A ridiculous reaction and over dramatized version of how an adult should be responding to what I might consider a “tragedy.” Exactly what is a tragedy though?

My car breaking down is not a tragedy, it is an inconvenience. My family being savagely murdered on the other hand is indeed a tragedy. Failing a midterm that I studied for all week is not a calamity, it is a disappointment. Living in the Middle East where my home has become over run by ISIS is a tragedy.

It’s sad yet true how much in our lives we have such little appreciation for. Do you think Bill Gates gets excited if he receives a $1,000.00 check in the mail? Probably not. Would you? Absolutely! Just because something may not be a lot in comparison to what you currently have should not diminish the value it holds.

I challenge you all to this next statement. Wake up every morning with a thank you to God for giving you another day. Appreciate the things that to you may seem little, because to someone else, they may be huge. Cherish the life you have, the day you were given, and the misfortunes you encounter, because what may be a “tragedy” to you could be a blessing to someone else.

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