Monday, January 10, 2011

Things We Take For Granted

We don't think about a lot of things around us that work day in and day out. I don't give much thought to my toilet, for instance. I use it, when needed. I clean it, periodically. However, if the thing breaks, as it did this week, it is really all I can think about. We have a one bathroom house. If the toilet has a problem, it will affect everything you do.

In the same way, I don't think about my teeth that much. I use them all the time. I clean them twice a day. However, I don't generally think about them when I am using them. Saturday night, however, the crown on my back right tooth came off. Try spending until Monday afternoon with an exposed nerve in your tooth and NOT think about it constantly. I couldn't chew on that side, drink things without straws, laugh or yawn, and if I gasped in surprise (as I did at one point yesterday when my husband snuck up behind me and put cold hands on my arm), I will end up gasping in pain immediately afterwards. I could hardly concentrate on anything but my tooth (and the sound of the toilet running--because something is broken).

There are so many small things in our lives which make life easier, better, and in some cases possible at all, which we generally take for granted. Only when they are broken do we pay attention to them.

When my tooth is fixed in two hours, I'll be grateful for my teeth. For the first day or so of use without pain, I'll be thinking about my teeth, but that's probably all the sustained awareness I'll manage before going back into more normal ways.

We simply cannot sustain the awareness (and, indeed, the wonder) of all the things we need to live. You know, our ability to walk is a miracle? Being able to breathe is amazing! Our eyelashes are incredible devices. However, I could not function in life if I paid attention to these and other details of life.

In the same way, I can hardly manage to maintain enthusiasm for toilets, the internet, and electricity everytime I use them. I will notice and miss them when they are gone, of course, and I am glad that I have them (and recognize that there are people without these things), but no one can maintain gratefulness for the little things all of the time.

I guess I need to remember that when things like this happen--when something breaks--that this is a reminder to me to be grateful for them. This has to happen for time to time so that I will know how very lucky I am that for most of the time, I don't have to think about these things.

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