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This morning I got going a little earlier than usual, as I was expecting a delivery and wanted to be sure I was awake and dressed and didn’t miss hearing the doorbell.

I’d stayed up the night before just as late as I normally do, so was somewhat tired and bleary-eyed as I went through my usual morning routine. Still, once I’d made a coffee and settled down in front of my computer I realized that in spite of my sleepiness it was rather nice to have some extra, unexpected quiet time of my own – time to think, to prepare myself for the day, to catch up on odds and ends.

For a few minutes, everything felt perfect in my little office. Through the open window I could smell the fresh summer morning and drink in a view of vibrant greens illuminated with sunshine and canopied by blue sky and puffy white clouds. I could hear the soft rustling of the wind in the trees and the bubbling of the water fountain in my neighbour’s back yard. As I sipped my coffee and adored our two beautiful fluffy boys, tranquility was almost tangible.


Then I opened my e-mail.

Violence rocks Ferguson, Missouri…

The ongoing battle with ISIS…

5-day Gaza truce gets off to shaky start…

Ebola kills second top doctor in Sierra Leone…

Zelda Williams receives offensive responses to her father’s death…

And suddenly, delighting in the beauty and happiness and peace in my own little world felt somehow wrong, selfish, small. Guilt rebranded gratitude as gloating, and my unearned privilege reached out to slap me in the face. Who am I and what did I do to be so fortunate, when others aren’t? To enjoy health and safety, when others don’t? To live, when others die?

The honest answer? No one, and nothing.

And yet here I am, alive and well with my view and my fresh cup of coffee and my two gorgeous cats and my sense of tangible tranquility, with time on my hands to devote to contemplation instead of to survival.

It is humbling.

NaBloPoMo August 2014

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Carol Cassara
    August 14, 2014

    Some things I will never understand. Ever.
    Carol Cassara recently posted… Is seeing believing?My Profile

  • The question comes up again and again. Why the other guy and not me? Or vice versa.

    It is good to pray and remember all those who travail.

    But in the end, we still end at the same place.
    Christopher Mitchell (Another Government Employee) recently posted… The Test (Blogophilia 25.7)My Profile

  • Carol Graham
    August 14, 2014

    I am speechless — unusual for me. Much I want to say and don’t know how – so will say this. I am glad that you understand and appreciate how blessed you are 🙂
    Carol Graham recently posted… How We Can Protect Ourselves from the Fear of EbolaMy Profile

  • bodynsoil
    August 14, 2014

    Thank you for writing this as I often feel the same way. The news is so dour lately; I’m afraid to look as I selfishly don’t want my day ruined..
    bodynsoil recently posted… Wordless Wednesday 08/13/14My Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      August 15, 2014

      I know there’s always awful stuff going on in the world, but the news really does seem to be particularly horrible lately, doesn’t it?
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: MoodyMy Profile

  • Rena McDaniel
    August 14, 2014

    That’s all we can do, isn’t it. Strive to find our own way, our own happiness!
    Rena McDaniel recently posted… THE MAGIC OF MACKINAW CITY, MICHIGANMy Profile

  • Life Breath Present August 14, 2014

    So true, your words. Hun and I just last week were talking about how in this country there is so much we truly don’t have to fight for when it comes to literally surviving. We were discussing the situation at the border and refugees around the world. But even the current events of this week alone highlight the many things we inherently take for granted at times…
    Life Breath Present recently posted… My Depression, Some Robin Williams, and Shaking It All OffMy Profile

  • Candess
    August 14, 2014

    My goal is when I hear of something like that, in addition to feeling gratitude I also focus in my heart and send love to those who suffer.

    I also think that we have the opportunity to elevate others. I posted this recently on my FB page.

    Okay, there is still time to clean out the garage and do my spring cleaning before fall. I am starting with un-friending people who post horrific images or videos that leave people with negative emotions and images that linger in our minds. You are not a journalist and you don’t need to report. If you are so concerned, do something about it and be humble and don’t share how you contributed.

    We all know there is suffering. Not everyone knows there is JOY!

  • Myke Todd August 14, 2014

    Hopefully, in everyone’s life, the good times will outweigh the bad. But, bad days are going to challenge us… When we get a good one, such as you describe here, we should hold onto for dear life, and when possible, share it with others, as you have done so well here. But, never ever feel guilty for blessings that come your way. The are the result of residual effort, and as such, you have earned them.
    Myke Todd recently posted… Free Wally PeppersMy Profile

  • Sammy d August 15, 2014

    Humble is an apt description, and I would add gratitude because I feel that each day.

    I think the key to being able to enjoy our circumstances without crushing guilt is “balance, awareness, and contribution.”

    We are all smart enough to figure out what those 3 words mean to each of us, and each of us will act on them differently. As long as I’m comfortable with how I interpret those words into values, and I don’t judge how others do or don’t, I will live my life as joyfully as I am able without taking all the world’s burdens on my shoulders.
    Sammy d recently posted… It’s All FixableMy Profile

  • Marika August 15, 2014

    When the world gets too gross for me … I read this, from Patton Oswalt

    Boston. Fucking horrible.

    I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

    But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

    But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

    But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

    So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

    People running towards the horribleness are what we need to remember.

    The things you mentioned are terrible, but there is someone out there helping – and I think that speaks more about us than anything else
    Marika recently posted… Day 69 – 100 Happy DaysMy Profile

  • Eli August 15, 2014

    That was so beautifully written Laurel. I so enjoyed reading that. I can so relate to that feeling … sitting there in the morning with a tea cup – feeling blessed, harmonic happy, and then the word catch up with me… So what to do- count our blesssings and do what we can do for making the world a better place…
    Eli recently posted… Happy Independence Day 2014!My Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    August 15, 2014

    I had the same thought this morning as I used my credit card to order something, Laurel. Some people earn the equivalent to what I spent in a few minutes over a month! And the things I ordered were not even necessities.
    I know guilt is not good – and I replace it with gratitude – but the questions remain, don’t they? ♥
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted… Beautifully ImperfectMy Profile

  • Lana August 15, 2014

    I completely agree. The only way to fight the negative is with positive. Those of us who can need to send joy and gratitude out into the world to combat the bad things that are happening. Thanks for the reminder!
    Lana recently posted… Don’t Ever Pay RetailMy Profile

  • Debbie
    August 15, 2014

    You’ve said it so well, Laurel! We are all truly fortunate, compared to so many others. One must never take this for granted. Have a great weekend. 🙂
    Debbie recently posted… MOODY – PHOTO FRIDAYMy Profile

  • elly stornebrink
    August 16, 2014

    I think of the prose poem in part by Marianne Williamson, “….We ask ourselves
    Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

    Now, substitute “brilliant” etc. for “happy” or “blessed” or “grateful.” And she continues, “…Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
    and further on, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Poem: Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson)

    The media plays into sensationalism and fear. Let us remember who we truly are and let our own light shine. There is, I believe in my heart, more ‘good’ than ‘bad’ in this world; however, the media is skewed so people generally believe it’s the opposite.

    “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…” 😉 <3
    elly stornebrink recently posted… Middle Child: You ARE Special! Today’s Your Day!My Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      August 16, 2014

      I really love that quote, and have been inspired by it before. My issue is, aren’t the people who are suffering or at a disadvantage in this world also children of God? I think so… which brings up the imbalance in fairness and privilege. I am grateful for all that I have… I only wish the good things were distributed a little more equally. 🙂
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: MoodyMy Profile


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