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So many of us are experiencing new heights of irritation with and alienation from our own nations’ government. But consider this post an opportunity to shift our eyes in gratitude. When I’m struggling to feel content here, I think of my African friends’ perspectives on just what abundance we drink in every day.

Today’s and yesterday’s posts, rather than reinforcing the misguided, often arrogant notion that developing-world countries are horrible places to live, are simply invitations to be grateful with me about what we have…but generally did not create for ourselves.

We stand on the shoulders of so many who provide remarkable services for us that make our lives more comfortable, self-actualized, free from pain, convenient, and easy. Far from positioning the developing world as superior, these gifts humble me. 

Want to be thankful with me?

For what do you have that you did not receive?

-the apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 4:7

  1. Freedom of religion.
  2. Eyeglasses or contacts.
  3. Peace and political stability. You are not a refugee, on the run from war or as an enemy of the state.
  4. Abundant opportunities in the arts.
  5. A governmental system of checks and balances.
  6. Education for girls.
  7. Free press.
  8. The ability to sleep at night without fear.
  9. Taking a vacation.
  10. Access to a computer and computer skills.
  11. Owning a pet.
  12. The ability to speak, read, and write a widely-known language.
  13. A comfortable mattress.
  14. That most do not feel the need to take the law into their own hands.
  15. Flying on an airplane.
  16. Life expectancy beyond age 50.
  17. Laws that ban cruel and unusual punishment.
  18. A home with a floor.
  19. The ability to choose a spouse.
  20. Term limits for government officials.
  21. Excess resources to pursue physical fitness.
  22. The ability to choose a job.
  23. That a child dying is an anomaly.
  24. Access to orthodontics.
  25. Relative control over the AIDS epidemic.
  26. Rich benefits you personally enjoy from tax dollars.
  27. A community park, playground, and/or swimming pool.
  28. A relatively trustworthy voting system.
  29. Virtual eradication of malaria, typhoid, cholera, dengue fever, yellow fever, ebola, and other major diseases.
  30. Watching a movie in the theater.
  31. Exposure to other cultures.


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