When we were first married, my husband and I would occasionally take a drive through the worst neighborhoods in town. You know, the kind that encourage windows to be rolled up and doors to be locked. The kind that had us scrunching down in the seat wishing the car windows were tinted much darker. I was often appalled to discover homes occupied that should have been condemned and yards full of trash and abandoned cars instead of swing sets and nice new minivans.
The point was to remind us both of how lucky we were to live in our humble little house in a safe and friendly neighborhood where it was still OK to take the dog for an evening walk and for kids to ride their bikes in the street. Every now and then it’s good for all of us to look beyond the safety net we’ve never lived without.
Last evening, we entered the house after vacationing in Mexico for a week and were totally struck at how lucky we are. Looking beyond the beautiful condo we stayed in on the pristine sandy beach with fabulous restaurants only a short walk away, is always an eye opener. Little kids selling trinkets to the tourists after school until eight o’clock at night is tough to digest as we enjoy a Margaritta and say “No, Gracias” over and over again like a bad mantra. How much can we buy? What would we do with it? Wait a minute; who says we have to buy anything?
OK, I admit it was a small thing to do, but it was better than nothing. A small group of kids, all selling something, all about seven or eight years old. Would they like some chips and salsa with us? How bout a Coke or an Orange Soda? Sit down in the shade and teach us a little Spanish while we slip a few dollars your way. No, it’s OK, keep your merchandise but take the money for the lessons. A few days of this and we had quite a little gathering of sweet faces, enjoying chips and sodas and giggling hysterically at our less than impressive communications skills. It was hands down, the best part of the whole trip.
We don’t need to go far to realize our blessings. Just watching the evening news is enough. It’s a good thing when I get into my six year old 4Runner and think how nice it is instead of how much I’d like a new one or how patching up the old crab boat is a hobby my husband looks forward to instead of looking forward to a new crab boat.
When life starts getting you down, take a good look around. Amazing, isn’t it?