January 27, 2009

Complaining about the easy life …

On my way to work this morning I passed a group of Soldiers who had obviously been at the nearby Shoppette (civilian version of gas station) from the bags of treat they carried and were walking back to the railhead about three-quarters of a mile away. At first I saw three and thought to stop and offer them a ride, but looking ahead I saw a much larger group. Living near the railhead, I knew that most likely they were on break from either loading or unloading the train cars. Their chatter and laughter was evident even from inside my vehicle and it caused me to think.

We (Americans) live in a world of luxury and ease. We read the news, watch on TV or hear stories of poverty, despair and destruction, but these Soldiers have seen it with their own eyes. When I compare our trivial issues to what they endure I am ashamed.

We complain when we wait 45 minutes for our food to be brought to the table when we eat at restaurants, but when is the last time we had to walk a mile to a dining facility just to get a hot meal.

We are irritated and put out when the TV in the next room or neighbor’s apartment is too loud and keeps us from sleeping, but when is the last time we had mortars and bombs interrupt our sleep?

We complain when we have to haul bags of groceries up flights of stairs because the elevator is broken, but when is the last time we had to walk from our room to the bathroom with a rifle and 70 pounds of protective gear?

We scream, curse and rant at driving in rush hour traffic, but when is the last time we had to travel in a single file convoy at 35 MPH, guns ready, eyes scanning the horizon praying feverishly that the vehicles in the front and back of us carrying our friends doesn’t suddenly explode from an unseen bomb?

We complain when our children drag mud and dirt onto our clean floors, but when is the last time we had to wait out a dust storm, sand swirling around us, darkness overshadowing us thankful that at least we’ve got shelter to keep out of the wind.

We complain that our children have once again spread all of their clothes and toys about their room, but when is the last time we lived out of a green duffle bag, clothes spread out to “air out” so we can wear them “one more” day before going to the laundry.

We get frustrated at the clutter on the fridge door as collections of prized artwork and good grades fall to the ground when the door is opened, but when is the last time we taped up those same pictures and schoolwork because it was the only link we had to our loved ones.

When you think about all that we have, yet still manage to find reasons to complain, it sounds so trivial and childish … nay, it sounds selfish and greedy. How does a country who has come so far in freedoms of its people, manage to be burdened by the very things that we take for granted.

Tonight, when the children leave their wet towels on the floor after their bath, or you pick up dirty dishes from the table long after everyone has gone off to their separate activities, don’t complain or grumble that once again YOU have to do everything. Be happy that you have people in your life who are your EVERRYTHING and that caring for them is a great gift from God.

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and military Families learn that lesson with every separation and deployment.

Until our next cup of tea ...

7 Tea Party Guest:

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

That poster is really cool! I'm going to try to remember that even if I'm only in the Onward Christian Soldiers kind of army.

It is very true that we are spoiled and often do not realize that what we are complaining about would be terribly missed if gone.

lime said...

you are right. thanks for the reality check. and welcome back to those who have returned.

Charlotte said...

What a wonderful post. You're right. We shouldn't complain about anything.

Sue said...

Beautiful, heartfelt post - every word of it true.
Everytime I even THINK I'm having a bad day at work, I think about these men and women you so wonderfully give tribute to - two of them my own.
Thank God for people like you who help the world keep things in perspective - and that it comes from a heart that understands about walking in the shoes.
Hugs to you and George for your sacrifices. I know that's not why you wrote this post, but I just wanted to say thank you.

stitcherw said...

It really is easy to take what we have for granted. It is good to step back and really look at what we have and what it means, and what others have given up for us to have it. Wonderful post.

Trish | eMOM said...

Wanted to stop by and invite you to come on over!

I'm so happy to be able to do this for our military community. I'm a military wife and the daughter of a veteran.

eMail Our Military (eMOM) is offering 10 ways for our military community the opportunity to win FREE flowers just in time for Valentine's Day ♥

ABW said...

Another great post, that made me cry. These last few weeks have turned me into an emotional mess, lol.