Bad days help us appreciate good days.
I have recently spent over a week in bed with the flu. I had forgotten how frustrating and debilitating it can be to be unwell. Day after day, horizontal and feeling like I had been run over by a Mac truck. In recovering it made me a little more grateful for the health that I often take for granted. If every day were a good day, there would be no good days. Without bad days we would have nothing to compare them with. I started to think about how incredibly blessed most of us are. And how rarely we express our profound thankfulness. If we woke up this morning with more health than sickness we are more blessed than hundreds of thousands of people who will not survive the week. Famed psychologist Abraham Maslow noted “All you have to do is go to hospital and hear all the simple blessings that people never realized before were blessings – being able to urinate, to sleep on your side, to be able to swallow, to scratch an itch.”
If we have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation we are better off than maybe five hundred million people.
If we attended church last Sunday and no one harassed us, beat us or imprisoned us we are more blessed than millions of others in the worldwide faith community. If we have food in the refrigerator, clothes on our back, and a roof over our heads we are better off than tens of thousands of other Australians. If we have money in our wallet or in the bank or even spare change in a jar we rank in the top eight percent of the world’s wealthy. If you can read this blog you are more blessed than hundreds of millions of people who cannot read at all. We need not only to count our blessings, we need to tell ourselves and others how blessed we are and seek to be a blessing to others. Of course life could be better, but it could also be worse. Yes suffering, injustice, illness, loneliness and unemployment suck. We must never minimize, overlook or trivialise the pain of others, whatever its source. But our perspective on life remains really important. Some days our glass will feel half empty or completely empty, but when we count our blessings and include among them the love and grace we find in God, some days our glass will feel like its overflowing (Psalm 23:5).