I dare you.
I dare you to think of the most difficult thing you are facing in your life right now.
And then I dare you to put it in perspective.
I watched on the news the other night as Ann Curry interviewed a seven-year-old Syrian boy, whose world had literally blown up around him, who had witnessed his friends and neighbors die only an arms’ length away while he was playing outside his home.
And then they moved on to his mother, who was entirely hidden beneath her burqa – except for her eyes. And that was all you really needed to see – this window into her soul, her heartbroken soul that spilled out through her tears as she spoke of the horror her children endured, their three day walk to a refugee camp, and the fear that she will never again see her husband, who stayed behind to fight as a rebel.
And I cried with this mother, whose name I do not know. I cried for her children, who have witnessed things in recent days that no one should have to in their entire lives. I cried that somehow, out of sheer luck of the randomness of the universe, MY seven-year-old boys live in a part of the world where they do not have to even imagine the grown-up realities of chemical warfare, where they have enough food and clothing and shelter and they can play on myriad electronics and then whine that “it’s not fair” when they are told that it is time to put them away.
They are right. The world is not fair.
I dare you to recognize how unfair it is, and to acknowledge that in all likelihood, if you are able to read this right now, you are the beneficiary of such unfairness.
I dare you to be like my friends, Phyllis and Michael, who sat by the side of their seven-year-old son last night as he received a bone marrow transfusion. I dare you to look that kind of adversity in the eye and handle it with the grace and humility and humor and love that the Sommer family has demonstrated since Sam was first diagnosed over a year ago. Perhaps in their quieter moments, they lament “why us?” But publicly, they have only shown gratitude for the worldwide support that has come their way, the organizations who have helped them, the medical technology that gives them hope for the future, and the anonymous donor who has given them the greatest gift of all.*
So I dare you, as we approach this new year, to stop the Facebook Whine about your hard day at work (be thankful you are able to work and have a job to go to every day), the traffic (be thankful you have reliable transportation and are healthy enough to drive), how much housework you have (be thankful you have a home to keep clean), and especially your children (be thankful for their existence, every day, even though they drive you batty – they are kids and that is their job). I dare you to put it in perspective, and then see if it’s really so bad.
*if you would like to read more about Superman Sam vs. the Ninja Leukemia, you can do so here.