Sometimes it seems as if the world is falling apart.
Epic earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, a creeping unemployment rate, and families losing their homes have become commonplace. It’s hard to turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper nowadays. These are sad times indeed, and if one was so inclined, it would be easy to crawl into a depression hole and never want to look out again.
Yes, it’s easy to get mired in the everyday minutiae and the overall state of things, which is why it’s important for me to recognize and celebrate what’s right in this world. It helps balance out the not-so-right.
Case in point — I recently had the opportunity, the privilege actually, of meeting a modern-day, middle-income, typical, blended family.
Together, the couple who are in their mid-30s (him) and mid-40s (her) have two children; she has four in total. Three of those children, ages 20, seven and six are living at home. They have also given refuge to a single father and his two daughters age eight and six. To say their house is crowded would be a considerable understatement.
Day after day I hear their family routine through the open window as they round up the children and get them off to school, baseball practice, parent/teacher meetings or any another of the numerous obligations of young families. I hear the crying and the laughter as it blows through the window, carried by the wind.
It’s obvious their days are devoted to raising their family in the best way possible and each and every day brings a renewed commitment to do the very best they can for their children.
They are a loud, boisterous family. They are a happy, busy family. They face adversity almost every day of their life by simply living in today’s world.
Both parents work full time and long hours and yet they soldier on. They do it for their family.
They struggle financially and yet they are the type of people who could never, not for one second, turn a person away from their table. They don’t have much, but what they do have they gladly share.
I think that despite the everyday stress of simply trying to be good parents, they have learned a secret that some of us fail to remember, or in some cases, ever learn. They have learned to laugh their way through the hard times.
Despite their harried and busy life, they navigate their way through life with smiles and good humour. They are warm and welcoming people with warm and welcoming children.
It’s pleasant to visit with them or to hear their family noises through the window. It reminds me that life always goes on and that there are good, honest and caring people in the world. It tells me that life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good. But it’s life and what would life be without those little surprises, both good and bad? It would be a simple landscape of dull gray.
They add a poignant counterbalance to those thoughtless and hurtful people of the world who think that the whole world, and its inhabitants, owe them a living and haphazardly stomp through life with little, or no, regard to those around them. You know the kind I mean — we have all met at least one of those type of people in our life. It’s hard to imagine the colour of their lifescape.
Our neighbours know happiness isn’t measured by the money in the bank, it’s measured in their children’s laughter.
Our neighbours epitomize what is right in the world.