Tonight, I am laying in my king size bed in a hotel room with a widescreen TV, two lounge chairs, a full bath, coffee pot, several mirrors, five lamps, and six pillows. I will sleep in this room for three nights, which will cost roughly the same as a family’s annual income in Ethiopia.
Yesterday, I spent a few hours at the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport stuck in an unplowed runway and after being de-iced, taxied back to the gate, and refueled, took off with several dozen passengers over the snow-covered countryside. Together, we flew to D.C. in less than an hour in a plane. Above the clouds. Only the people in the last century have had the opportunity to view the world from above, to be able to see the clouds casting shadows on the hills and fields in this way.
It is so easy to forget how incredibly fortunate we are, to live where we do, when we do, and how we do. Watching CNN and the coverage of Egypt’s uprising tonight only adds to this feeling of gratitude, but it’s a guilty, shameful gratitude. I can hear myself only a few hours ago complaining about slow service at dinner. It is humbling. I don’t want to stay in this place; I want this feeling of gratitude to motivate me into action and awareness, because being “blessed” or “fortunate” or “lucky” or whatever you want to call it is not where the sentiment should end. There’s more at stake than just giving praise and thankfulness, there has to be a response, there has to be action. So what does that look like for us?