Saturday, 4 December 2010

Living in Difficult Situations.

For the past week the place where I live has ground to a halt. I have been unable to move my car so the only means of getting in food supplies is walking to the village store and carrying it back. Sounds as if that is not such a great thing, apart from the fact that the village store has no supplies and the shelves are lying empty. Yesterday I attempted to move my car, I managed about 100 yards and then could not get it back without over an hours effort. How easily I realise I could slip into being a complainer. Begin to see the world from my perspective alone. The truth is that beyond my door is a great big world, and in comparison I am very well off.

The trouble is when we look at it in global terms it becomes almost meaningless. So let me scale that down just a bit.

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this.

There would be:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 would be Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be non-white

30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian

30 would be Christian

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death;

1 would be near birth;

1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education;

1 (yes, only 1) would own a computer.

When I consider the world from this perspective, it looks like a very different place.

So instead of complaining let me consider:

I have food in the refrigerator, clothes on my back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, I am richer than 75% of this world.

I woke up this morning with more health than illness, I am more blessed than the million who will not survive this week, and better than the two old people found yesterday dead in their back gardens.

I have money in my wallet, and spare change in a coffee jar next to my keyboard making me among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

I have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, I am therefore ahead of 500 million people in the world.

I can still put a smile on my face and are truly thankful, I am blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

I can write this blog, over two billion people in the world who cannot read it.

So as I look out the window at more snow, the prospect of yet more difficulties, I realise that in terms of others I am indeed very well off.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

This blog is linked to my other which I am leaving a bit longer as requested by many. I Remember (No More)


  1. A timely and interesting reminder for all of us. Thanks Ralph!

  2. Thank you Ralph. What's that song lyric? "It's just another day for you and me in paradise..."
    Along that same vein, I was at a meeting yesterday where the speaker talked about the importance of diversity awareness in school. We're trying very hard to teach the kids that all people are the same everywhere, and have the same rights and responsibilities as we do. It was a good meeting. (But I still drew a picture. I need to finish it.)

  3. good morning Ralph, you are having a great day, your mind is sharp and in perspective! It is cold outside and you are thankful not to be sleeping in your car that you can't move! I would hope that over time these statistics would equalize a bit, offering more of a sharing, generous nature, but they have gotten worse! Now over 40% of this vilage's
    resources are controlled by only two people. The richest man in the world is from Mexico! The most expensive house in the world is in India, costing over One Billion Dollars!!! Somehow the scale is askew.

  4. When I look back where I have been and the dire situations I have escaped I know I am indeed luckier than most.
    When I travel north and walk the forests in freedom and without fear I know I am indeed better than most.
    When I awake and leisurely watch dawn break and can survey the wondrous landscape around me (although it may be a grimy steel city) I know I am among the richest.
    I have no money in my wallet nor loose change. But I am most fortunate that I can simply get off by 'butt' and earn more when needed.
    My health could be better but I am not among the chronic.
    And, I have a wealth of family and friends; surrounded by good hearts and beauty!
    Indeed a wonderful world!
    Enjoy your 'being stranded' .... what a delightful feeling to be 'stranded' by snow! But then I am particularly a 'snow lover'.

  5. How easy it is for us to whine and complain. It's good to hear that some of us are thankful for what we do have instead of what we don't.
    Without a doubt it is good health that makes you the richest of all. Without that you wouldn't be able to walk to the store in the first place.
    My mother was ill most of her life and although she had such courage I learned early on that without good health you have nothing. She would say that "when you are very,very sick there could be gold across the street and you wouldn't care." Think about it.!

  6. Wow. That's a lot of Asians! 14 in the whole western hemisphere? I didn't realize there were so few of us in comparison to the rest of the world...

    We do have lots to be thankful for. Your snow looks lovely. That is an awesome picture. When you can easily drive to the store again and the shelves are full, you'll be thankful. We do take so much for granted, don't we? Make a big pot of soup, your food will go further that way! Stay well.

  7. It may be causing you hardship...but that snow is really beautiful! I hope it will stop causing you problems soon, however. I really do not like to be "snowed in"! Thanks for the reminder that things can always be worse!

  8. Interesting,Bravo.

  9. Ralph was missing your blogs so I looked at this one and really enjoyed it. Makes you think about how blessed you are. Please have a wonderful new year