By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
By most measures of human fortune in most times and most places, I am one of many Americans who lead a charmed life.
I have two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet and at least two brain cells, all ostensibly functional.
A roof keeps the rain off me. Walls keep booger bears and cold winds out. Doors and windows let in groceries, light, cooling breezes, friends, family and me.
Modest income keeps the hounds at bay.
There are wood and gas for heat, food for sustenance and pleasure, a sip of coffee for courage, a sip of wine for comfort, clothes for convenience and modesty, and clean, abundant water for all the marvels that water does.
Electricity does my bidding by arranging pixels, cleaning carpets, trimming nosehairs, giving sight at night, summoning orchestras, cooking food, drying clothes and countless other tasks.
Inspiration, information and entertainment offer themselves as servants and friends via newspapers, books, magazines, a piano, TV, radio, CDs, MP3s, phone calls, the Web and my own thoughts.
I sleep in a comfortable bed with a devoted wife in a house that’s not under water either literally or figuratively, where no one has broken in, where the sound of gunfire only means target practice or hunting season, and where we can be as hospitable or as reclusive as we like.
There’s pasture in which to walk and woods in which to wander and wonder. I can drive anytime to get a Coke or meet a friend – or explore a far-flung portion of this country that I’ve never seen before.
Most of the time I’m in good health. When I’m ill, I can see someone who can likely make it all better.
If I feel purposeless, I can look on accomplishments in the past and goals for the future.
Good memories bring me joy for their existence, and bad memories bring me joy that I can leave them in the past except as useful reminders. Most are shared with people I love, and who love me.
I have convictions of conscience but no convictions of crime. I have a voice and a vote.
And I have a worldview that comfortably accommodates imperfection – in myself, in others around me and in the governments of this world – yet still provides for perfection in a kingdom yet unseen.
I can worship God without fear of jail or mobs, impeded by nothing more than my own distraction.
Under lights in the next room sit scores of little tomato and basil plants to provide hope for the near-term future.
On my horizon stands a faith that provides assurance for eternity.
So why do I still find reasons to complain?