Well, it's Thanksgiving in the USA. A few years ago, at a gathering of my girlfriend's family, we each made lists of things we were thankful for. "Family" and "togetherness" appeared quite a bit, but my list, naturally, was a bit different - it had things like "clean water" and "absence of minefields" on it.
I've thought about it a bit since then, and I wondered how small the list could be and still cover a lot of my daily blessings. Kind of like those engineers who try to design full-fledged computers having only a single instruction. I finally settled on a list with a single item: a toothbrush. Think of it like this:
So most of us - not all of us, but most of us - have food and water, our health, and live in peaceful, functioning societies. We have the chance to create and make things better for ourselves. For our families. For our neighbors.
But currently, this doesn't seem to be a popular view. Instead, we're told "Your life sucks because others have stolen from you, and the only way out is for you to take it back from them." That sounds like a one-way ticket back to Sarajevo, but on a global scale.
I don't know why such a pessimistic message has become so prevalent, or what the purveyors of that message hope to gain from it. Maybe they're tired and frustrated, or they lack the imagination to find a better path. But this Thanksgiving, I know we're lucky to be where we are and that we all have opportunities to make things better. I have the proof sitting right on the counter in my bathroom.