I awoke this morning, and as I was sipping my coffee, the thought of where I was in life brought me to thinking of what I had. But in the quiet of the breaking dawn, I also started thinking of what I DIDN’T have.
I didn’t have a thin mat on bare dirt from which to rise to a day spent scavenging for bits of firewood. I didn’t have a two mile walk to gather water from a muddy stream.
I didn’t have pains in my stomach from hunger and malnutrition. I wasn’t wearing torn rags for protection from the elements as the soles of my feet turned to calloused leather from the constant searching…searching.
I didn’t have the incessant sounds of war and gunfire as part of my everyday life; smoke and the smell of death and rot mixed with fear and adrenalin. I didn’t have to wonder if the next person I met was a friend or foe, or whether my next step would trigger a land mine.
I didn’t have to witness the shed tears of those whose guiltless birth delivered them into a world of chaos and sorrow from which there was no escape; a world where there was little knowledge of what lay beyond what they could see with their eyes.
I didn’t have to endure the reality of life when a mother’s love and care could no longer shield them from the necessities of survival.
I feel no shame in my good fortune, but perhaps a wistful sense of guilt in that I cannot directly change the plight of so many in the world. I have but to turn the tap and have water; if only those with none could drink. My stove is always ready, yet I cannot cook for those without fire. My home offers warmth and protection from nature and the elements, but I cannot make a roof over those who have none.
I am not a wealthy man, perhaps you might call me just comfortable, but when I think of so many in this life; I must seem to live like a king. And I realised that, indeed, I truly was.
The deck of cards that is life has both aces and deuces, and the cards land where they may on the face of the globe. I am thankful that I have been dealt a good hand, and yet I can’t help but notice that no matter what the rank of cards in my life, when we lay our cards on the table at the end of the game, their backs are all the same.