The Lottery of Life: Have You Won?

“We’ve won the lottery of life,” I declared. 

It was a typical workday evening. Hubby and I were sitting eating leftovers reinvented into a beautiful southwestern salad: roasted veggies, corn, avocados, cheddar. The kids had finished their dinners- a pile of sliced honey ham for Babyboy, Pirate Booty dipped in a mango yogurt for Babygirl- and were playing what looked like “Lego/Matchbox car/Pony Adventure”. Both of our big cats lazed out, unmotivated, on the other end of our dining room table, having figured out that we were eating vegetarian. 

Hubby surveyed our domestic landscape and agreed: “I know, hon, I know. And I thank God every day.”

We have an understanding of how lucky we are… but not of why

Why us? Why do we get so much, and other families, every bit as deserving of a peaceful, loving life, get this:

Another bombing in Alleppo. This time, the reality of the experience for this family is starkly illustrated for us to witness. The family so like us, the kids so close in ages to ours, this boy who looks so much like Babyboy:

He’s quiet, dazed, and very likely in shock, as rescuers pull his siblings and parents out of the decimated building. 

Sometimes when I see an image like this I feel so guilty and helpless, my first instinct is to skip over it, and find something intellectually and emotionally easier to read. 

What can I do to help this boy? It’s both a question said with a shrug and with a purpose. I can’t do anything immediately material for him. But there’s a long list of  quality, vetted NGOs who would use my monetery donation to immediately help another boy like him. International Rescue Committee, Doctors Without Borders, Save The Children, International Red Cross, Oxfam… A fairly recent New York Times article reviewed these and more organizations doing good work for Syrian refugees. 

But right now, at the end of a busy, lovely August vacation weekend, I feel like the best thing I can do is again thank God for all that we have, and say a prayer for all those who are suffering. 

I’m adding a prayer: that we don’t forget how blessed we are. It’s easy to lose perspective, to gripe and complain about things that, in the grand scheme of things, are not significant. Fretting and stressing only creates negative energy that no one needs. 

When I start to get caught up in my own or someone else’s drama, I ask myself:

“Anyone shelling your home, trying to kill your children, rape you on a daily basis? Are you risking drowning to survive, suffering from thirst or starvation? Are you living in a tent with one outhouse per thousand people? Do you have minimal access to medical care? Wonder when your children will ever go to school again?”

Uh, no. None of the above. 

“Well, then:

Got love, a safe home, functional infrastructure (electricity, water, sewer, schools, emergency services), food on the table, decent healthcare, a comfortable life?”

Check, check, check… Got all that. 

“Alrighty then! You, ma’am, have won the lottery of life!”

After all, what good is winning the lottery, if you don’t realize it? 

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