All through life, people constantly moan about how difficult everything is to deal with - how they feel mistreated and held down. There is a different view, and it will probably make you feel rather selfish and ignorant. It has me.
The fact is, that no matter how bad your life may seem, if you are in fact reading this right now, it could definitely be worse. There are so many scenarios that you could be in the middle of that would make you fall down on your carefree knees and bless the day that you were born.
Let me tell you a true story.
Long ago, when I was just 17, I knew a man named Pike. He was Cambodian. Pike worked every day - seven days per week - at one of his 3 jobs in a crappy little town called Newark, Ohio. He loved every second of his life and he realized just what every second was worth. You see, Pike had come from hardships that even the poorest American could never fathom. He endured captivity, beatings, starvation, torture and the witnessed deaths of his direct family members. He even was forced to watch as his 11 year old sister was repeatedly raped - and then mercilessly killed. He wore her spattered blood as his was taken, kicking and screaming, from the brutal scene.
Pike escaped - in true form - from Cambodia in the early part of the 1980s. He watched as his family members and friends caught random bullets only inches from him as they tried to cross the borders that led to their freedom. He made it out of war-torn Cambodia and, more fortunately, was led on a path that delivered him to the shores of Staten Island, New York. From there, a very helpful and unselfish religious organization helped him to find his way to my home town. My mother managed a boarding house in which Pike resided for at least a few years that I am remembering.
Pike always wore an intentional smile. It didn't matter to him that his past life was ridden fully with atrocities; he was simply glad to be living in America and having the chance to develop himself. He remembered his lost family and friends - and he would pray for their lost souls every day and every night without reservation or failure. Still, even though he had the memories of his horrible past directly in the forefront of his every thought, you would never find this man shaken. Pike didn't complain about unfair governmental policies (like I do). Pike didn't complain about taxes. Pike didn't complain about inflation or crime. Pike didn't complain. Pike knew worse and was very happy to be away from it.
I lost contact with Pike when I joined the US Army in 1985. I remember talking with him - I remember clearly how much that he looked up to my Mother. He called her "his Mom" and he loved her. For that, I love him endlessly. Pike taught me the basics of understanding and integrity. He showed me that no matter where we come from or what we may have endured - someone else has already had things far worse. Pike taught me how to be a man before I even knew that he did. Actually, it took my slow butt about 20 more years to remember the lessons that he so eloquently, and effortlessly, taught me.
The lesson here, Grub Streeters, is that no matter how bad your life may seem today; no matter how drastic your personal situations may seem, you are very fortunate. You are fortunate to be human instead of a hyena. You are fortunate to be American instead of Iraqi. You are fortunate to be able to read and advance your life instead of illiterate. You are fortunate to be fed instead of chronically hungry. You are fortunate, and you should approach each day as such without reservation - like Pike.
Pike, my friend and mentor, if you are out there - thank you. Thank you for being a being of compassion and forgiveness. Thank you for practicing positivity in the face of degrading madness. Thank you, Pike, for being a leader in life and for teaching this young man how to live.
M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.
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