The devastating earthquake in Haiti has brought home to me just how grateful I should be for who I am, where I live and what I have. The photos and vision from Port au Prince fill me with so much emotion; I often have to turn away. I send my thanks to the Universe, to God and to whatever forces there are that have allowed me to live a blessed life.
I might be a single mother who sometimes struggles financially to give what she can to her children, but I live in a country where I am free to work, free to earn money and free to choose how to spend it. I am female but I’m not oppressed, I have equal rights and I can speak my mind. I have three sons who love me and who I know would protect me if they had to.
I live in a democratic country where, although it’s not perfect, it at least attempts to give social justice and a sense of dignity to all. I live in a country where, if you really want to, you can get places. You can climb the career ladder or concentrate on your family. You can take opportunities or you can simply live life. At least, in this country we all have a choice.
I know I will get arguments from some who believe that even in a democratic society there are people who have no choice. I’m willing to acknowledge there is always the exception to the rule. But for the vast majority of people in this country, we have choices and, if we want, we can even choose to make the wrong choices. The decision is ours.
I might be a single mother, with three boys and one income, but in contrast to the people in Haiti and many many other people around the world, I have wealth beyond compare. I don’t own a home, but I live in a house that is structurally sound and in an area not prone to earthquakes, floods or fire. I have access to electricity, gas, telephone lines and the internet. We might never eat at five star restaurants, but I can afford to feed my family healthy food. We don’t shop at designer retail outlets, but I can afford to clothe my family. We don’t go out very much, but we can hire DVDs or watch television or participate in sport, or access our online friends through the Internet.
It shouldn’t take a natural disaster on a scale like the one in Haiti to remind me of how lucky I am. I should remember to be grateful every single day.