Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Those lucky dogs

One morning in January I tried starting our car but nothing happened. Just silence. I turned the key a few more times, but couldn’t get it going. Oddly, when Sam came out to diagnose the problem, the car started right up. We took the car in to have the battery checked and sure enough, it was about dead. So we bought a new battery and life was back to normal.

About a week later it happened again. I turned the key several times, but the car just sat lifeless. I went back in the house for a few minutes and then tried the whole thing over. Just like the week before, the car started up with no problem. Now I was confused. It couldn’t be the battery this time, could it? Maybe it had something to do with the sub-human (and sub-mechanical) winter temperatures. Was the car nearing the end of its long life?

It’s been a few months now and I still don’t have any answers because our car has been running fine ever since. I am, however, beginning to see the faint outlines of another theme taking shape in my life. I’m calling this one Appreciation.

We all know we take too much in our lives for granted. We forget how precious certain things are. Or we assume we will always have them available to us. Fortunately life has a way of reminding us how to appreciate what we have while it’s still ours to appreciate. Like the car. For the past few months, every time I turn the key in the ignition, I thank God when it starts up. Nope, no more taking the car for granted.

This theme has come up in a lot of other ways since (thus dubbing it a theme), but there’s just one more example I want to share for now.

I started reading a book called Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung. It’s a true story about a family that emigrated from Cambodia to Australia just after the Vietnam War. The family was destitute and desperate. They had been living under an oppressive regime and their spirits were nearly broken. Upon arriving in Australia, they experience a life they never could have fathomed. They behold a government that protects its citizens. They watch cars yield to pedestrians. And they discover food is cheap and abundant. Their first trip to the grocery store is a thing of wonder. They buy a few simple items including some canned meat and the daughter writes:
Back in our rented weatherboard house…my mother cuts the [meat] into little pieces and makes a nice stir-fry. "It smells so good," breathes my auntie as she spoons the meal onto a large plate. My mother cannot help but smile with pride. It is only later when my family sees the television commercial that they realize who - or more accurately, what - the meat is for. "Wah, who could believe that they feed this good meat to dogs? How lucky to be a dog in this country!"

So the goal is to try to remember to appreciate the goodness of life – people, health, circumstances, and an unpredictable car – while it's still ours to enjoy.


tara said...

My favorite blog post thus far! I needed the reminder!!

Jessica said...

I did too ;)