Don’t Take Anything for Granted

Kathryn - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on January 10, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: gratitude

Last summer was a changing experience for me in my life because I learned so much about the real world. In June of 2008 I traveled with my youth group to West Virginia on a mission trip. We were working on a house of a woman named Debbie and I remember cleaning off the baseboard in her kitchen. I was scrubbing for a few minutes and dirt kept coming off onto my rag. It hit me that this wasn’t dirt I was wiping off, it was rotting wood from the house that was in such bad shape it should’ve have been torn down and re-built.

This is when it occurred to me that on this trip was just covering up all of the years of damage that this house had. We were taking a horrible situation and trying to make the best of it. This house sort of reminded me of life. I feel like this explains that in life sometimes you can’t start over. Sometimes you just have to make the best of a situation and do what you can with what you are given.

You have to “deal with the hand of cards you are dealt.” This house needed to be torn down and completely rebuilt, but we were only able to make the best of this situation and paint over these years of damage. If someone is mean to us in life we can’t always start over. We have to work to fix problems in our life that make us upset and move on.

When I was working on this house I realized that I needed to stop taking everything I had for granted. For example in my life I complain about the silliest tiny things such as not liking the kind of pop-tarts we have or the television show my sister is watching. These are examples of things I take for granted, when really I am lucky that I even have a television and something to eat. This woman living in this house was in terrible condition, but this house was the only thing Debbie had.

If I had to live in the situation that this woman was living in I don’t think I could do it. I am lucky to be blessed with family and friends. I sometimes find myself being unhappy with the things I have in my life and it amazes me that someone with almost nothing could be so happy and thankful. Everyday she thanked us for what we were doing to help make her life a little better. We were covering up the damage in her life and she was thankful because she knew that she had to make the best of the situation she was given. This was her chance to turn her life around and we were helping her do this. After this trip I realized I needed to stop taking the things in my life that I have for granted and enjoy the life I have.