Counting my blessings
These days I am filled with envy. Envy floods my mind, heart and soul when I see people walk, bike and run on the path in front of our apartment building.
Every article I read in magazines, newspapers and my smartphone seem to bring out this emotion most strongly. I just read in ``This Day in History” that on June 16, 1963, a Soviet cosmonaut named Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel in space. Now 49 years later the first Chinese woman called Liu Yang at 33 was one of the three crew members who were sent into space in preparation for China’s ambitious plan to build a Chinese space station by 2020.
Instead of feeling genuine joy of seeing these accomplishments being achieved by women, the first reaction I have is why wasn’t I one of those women who flew into outer space?
Why this strangely negative emotion all of a sudden? Well, I had some surgery recently and I am in some physical discomfort. I feel dizzy and I can’t do the normal things that people take for granted such as picking up things with my right arm.
Since I am in the mood for complaining, I will go on a little further. What other dark thoughts have I been harboring? OK, I envy all the runners and joggers I see, and I’m especially jealous of the ones who are my age. Their youthfulness and vigor pain me.
As I write, the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball teams are contesting the NBA championship. I envy every one of those players. It must be so nice to jump around and do all the physically challenging stuff in front of so many cheering fans without any impediments. Yes, I am envious of every single healthy person.
This past week to distract myself from pain, I watched all 38 episodes of ``The Tudors,” a TV series weaving the story of the strange king who ruled Great Britain till 1547. I was distracted, but not free from envy. As I watched the godly person Thomas Moore being martyred for his refusal to recognize King Henry VIII as the head of the church I was filled with envy. I can’t even be counted as a martyr.
Then I checked the Internet to see what wise people have said about envy. I wanted to see whether their words could help me snap out of this undesirable attitude.
This is some of the wisdom-filled advice I found: ``The envious die not once, but as often as the envied win applause.” ``Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” ``Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self-worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has.” ``Envy is a littleness of the soul...”
Well, I definitely do not want to die as often as the envied receive applause. I don’t want to bring death’s snares on me even in a figurative way. Yes, I am envious because I am right now counting others’ blessings and refusing to see my own. So let’s make a list of the things that I consider blessings in my life.
I have a husband, two daughters and family, church friends and a cousin nearby and they have been most understanding, supportive, helpful and kind throughout my surgery. I can smell, touch, hear, see, move (most of my body) and speak. I can write this column to shamelessly fish for my readers’ sympathy. I can communicate instantly with all my friends all over the world via email and snail mail, phone calls and Facebook
I can enjoy music that calms my nerves. I can read my current book discussion work, Abraham Verghese’s ``Cutting for Stone,” and enjoy the fictional world and forget briefly my whining. I am most thankful for the prayers that my weekly prayer partners offer on my behalf to God who is the ultimate healer.
Well, should I go on? I am already in a better frame of mind. I suggest you all do the same whenever complaints and miserable thoughts well up in your hearts. Life is not too bad. Actually it is wonderful. I now want to turn up the music on in my mind and hum “What a Wonderful World!”
Yes, words sung by Louis Armstrong remind me that we are living in a wonderful world despite all the imperfect things that surround us. It is a matter of thinking. So why not switch to more positive thoughts? They make a more pleasing and acceptable sight to our maker, God almighty.
``I see trees of green…red roses too. I see them bloom…for me and you. And I think to myself…what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue…clouds of white. Bright blessed days…dark sacred nights… And I think to myself…what a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow…so pretty…in the sky is also on the faces…of people…going by. I see friends shaking hands…saying how do you do. They’re really saying…I love you…“
Hyon O'Brien is a former reference librarian now living in the United States. She can be reached at email@example.com.