Perspective: Gratitude for the country you live in 1

With all the distractions of our looming move, I haven’t seemed to be able to get back on my writing tracks. On Saturday, I sat down with determination in my heart but nothing of value in my head—so I walked away to await my inspiration. Sadly, today I found my inspiration.

I have previously written about various areas of perspective relating to stress, life’s general hiccups, treating others with respect, and your job/career. Today is about perspective towards the country you live in.

In my first marriage, I lived in Central America, and it was the first real-world slap into reality that I ever received. I went from living in a country where I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and have the money to buy the things I wanted to a country surrounded by poverty. In my new home in that third world country, I watched people working for pennies a day, living in broken down shacks, while my house stood strong, but was surrounded by ten-foot high walls with bars on the windows.

When my then-husband traveled on business, I had to sleep with a gun under my pillow, and he paid the neighbourhood husbands to guard the house at night so my baby and I could sleep safely. Yes, they were armed too. Despite all of that, I was sad to move away from a country that had true heart, and missed all of the wonderful people who helped care for me and my daughter (especially when I was trying to live through my second bout of Malaria).

I came back to Canada with a new appreciation for the country I was born and raised in, and have continued to remain grounded and appreciative of all my blessings.


Today, my morning started with a pit in my stomach as I read an email from a colleague in South Africa. We have never met, but we work for the same company, and have struck up a cyber-friendship outside of office hours. One of the topics we have discussed is his long-time desire to move to Canada. Unfortunately though (from what I understand), unless he has a sponsor, it is a seven-year waiting period for anyone trying.

On Monday, moments after his son left the house to go to school (he and his wife had already left for work), their house was broken into and ransacked. The perpetrators had to break through two steel gates and an interior door. In the aftermath, they found a few rounds of bullets on the lawn. They were definitely not fooling around.

He further informed me that this is the fourth time something like this has happened to him, and he feels like he’s in jail—and is fortifying his home even more as we speak.

I cannot imagine what it must feel like to live a life like that?

Although break-ins, robberies, theft, and general violence, happen here in Canada, there is nothing that even comes close to being repeatedly violated like that.

The perspective that I hope I can bring light today, is how fortunate we are—blessed, actually—to be living in a country like Canada.

I ask that you and your circle of family and friends take a moment to stuff a sock in your mouth when you get riled up over some of your life’s little hiccups:

Your negative situation…The perspective…
Someone jumped ahead of you in line at the supermarketYou can afford to buy groceries
You were cut-off in trafficYou don’t have to walk everywhere
The local utility company raised their rates… againYou have heat, electricity, and running water
You have to pay a handling fee for your custom curtainsYou have a roof over your head
Your child refuses to eat the meal you madeYou have food
The store is out of the brand of fizzy water you likeYou can drink the tap water without dying
Traffic made you late for workYou have a job
You didn’t get a Christmas bonusYou have a job
You have to pay $1 for a cup of coffee at workYou have a job
Your teen throws a fit because you don’t want to buy him the new iPhone that “everyone” is gettingI cannot even form the words to respond to this
They ran out of stock on the latest video game that your precious child MUST haveAgain... shaking my head...

I won’t mince words when I say that the complaints I hear from a lot of people outright disgust me. I’m sure I’m guilty of some lapses in my gratitude, but never to the degree of what I hear going on around me.

I’m also sure there is someone in my personal circle who is going to read this and get pissed off at me, and then feel that it is their duty to list as many of my complaints that they can remember me saying in the past. Well, save your breath—I don’t need to hear it. My South African friend’s plight is reminder enough for me to count my blessings and be grateful for every single thing I have. Some of which include:

  • Unconditional love from a moral and upstanding man
  • Being a mother and grandmother
  • Good health
  • Freedom of speech
  • Financial stability
  • A place where I can rest my head at the end of the day

As the materialistic gluttony of the holidays approach, I encourage you (and hope you will encourage your circle of influence) to take a step back and reassess your priorities.


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One thought on “Perspective: Gratitude for the country you live in

  • CB

    Thank you, Veronica, for your kind and reassuring words…
    It is a good feeling to, as you mentioned, be reassured that there are people out there that still care…
    Yes, those suffering, and I am sure most of us feel sick to our stomachs when we hear of such atrocities, and those who find themselves in hopeless situations like mine. It is hard, but I know that if there is no alternative but to just close my eyes and place mine and my family’s live-in Gods hands. There is a purpose in all this mayhem for us, whatever that might be and God will not give more than we can handle.
    And Veronica thank you for comparison of negativity and the opposing perspective, even some like me who meets life’s challenges daily, become too complacent. And far too often I forget where I have come from, where I am, and where like to be…
    I am truly blessed to have you, and your followers, on my side and reassuring me that not all is lost in this world.
    Your friend and Colleague (South Africa)