When I got up this morning my thermometer read -8 degrees. Late last night after midnight, as I pondered over this blog post I could hear the snow plow slowly cleaning my street. With my gas furnace quietly keeping me alive and my street being plowed so I can get out when I need to, I was suddenly reminded of how great my life really is and I have lots of amazing people to thank for it.
In the history of the world life has never been this easy for most people. Only in the last 100 years has technology made it possible for us to not have to worry about our daily existence. My grandfather heated his house in Minnesota with firewood, just to survive the sub-zero temperatures. He cut trees and sawed logs all year long so he would have enough stored up to make it through the winter. I have never had to do anything like that and I would wager that 99% of the people who are reading this blog never have either. We take a lot for granted these days but let’s all say thanks to the people among us who make our lives possible.
I heat my house with natural gas that comes from drilling holes in the ground. I have no idea how hard that work is but I can imagine it’s not fun, especially considering some of the remote places they have to go to get to it. Drilling for oil in the North Sea or Alaska has to be brutally hard work. I’m typing this blog on a laptop made of plastics and precious metals. Someone, a lot tougher than I, had to drill for oil to produce the petro-chemicals in the plastics and someone else had to mine the copper and gold by hand to make the micro-circuits that make computers possible. Some other really smart people had to spend years developing computer hardware and software to make it simple enough for someone like me to have a computer on my kitchen table. The internet, smart phones and social media like WordPress would not exist without people who work extremely hard and in some cases even risk their lives to make life easier for the rest of us. I am forever thankful for these amazing people.
This afternoon I’m going to cook a nice dinner, courtesy of some very hard-working farmers who supply everything I need to survive. My wife and I have been growing vegetables in our backyard for years but never enough to make it last all year. Without the incredible skills and dedication of farmers, I would die from starvation. Even the clothes I wear are derived from cotton, wool or synthetics made from petro-chemicals. Again, I don’t have to plant cotton or keep a herd of sheep just so I can make my own clothes. I just go to the store and buy what I need. (Thank God I don’t have to sew.)
I will also be washing some clothes today in a machine built by engineers, supplied with clean water from the city and using detergents made from petro-chemicals. I’m sitting on furniture made from wood in a house made from wood and reading a book made from wood pulp. I have cut down enough trees to know I wouldn’t want to do that dangerous job for a living. I’m really glad someone somewhere wants to do these hard jobs because I don’t. I guess I would if I had to but thankfully I don’t.
Is anyone else noticing a trend here? No matter what the media tells us, the reality is this – humanity is not made up of the haves and the have-nots but rather by the people who will and who will not. Those of us who will not cut trees, dig for oil or drive a tractor at 4 AM are totally dependent on those who will and we better be grateful for everything we have. The media isn’t making my life better, celebrities make no difference whatsoever and politicians make everything more difficult. It’s just us that we have to depend on for our existence. The willingness to serve humanity is all that separates us from extinction. We all have to do our part to make life better and we have to stop being afraid to lend a helping hand to those who look different than we do or speak a different language.
I am always encouraged by the outpouring of faith that occurs during the Christmas season. The message that the birth of Jesus represents is one of humanity for all and the willingness to work for the common good. Jesus gave his life to redeem us, all of us. We can demonstrate our faith in his gift to humanity by carrying on his work. The more willing we are to share in the work that must be done, the better our lives will become. Goodness, compassion and faithfulness will be the fruits of our labors and the Christmas spirit will be fulfilled. This is how Jesus put it, “I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.