On Wednesday I will be traveling to to Kansas City for Thanksgiving. I’ll be flying out of John Wayne airport in Orange County, and I’m sure it will be a hassle to wait in security lines. I’m sure it will feel invasive and unnecessary to stand in the nude scanner or get padded down, “Don’t touch my junk” style. I’m sure the whole rigmarole of flying on the busiest travel day of the year will be somewhat painful. But I really don’t want to complain.
Rather than lamenting the difficulties and inconveniences of flying these days, I want to give thanks for the amazing fact that I can fly home, that planes and airports even exist to transport us in three hours distances that used to take three months to traverse. What a gift! How lucky are we? We don’t deserve airplanes.
Our culture is a complaining culture, and I’m as guilty as anyone. We are constantly complaining about how busy we are and how stressful work is, even though we’d doubtless also complain if we were unemployed. We complain about everything from the weather to the way our food is prepared to the lack of parking spaces and the cost of gas. We complain about traffic, taxes, spotty cell phone coverage, lukewarm lattes and wifi that isn’t free. How dare we not be given free wifi!
We are spoiled, fickle, snotty-nosed complainers, all too eager to wallow in what’s bad and difficult and inconvenient in life. We spend so little time dwelling on all that we have that we don’t deserve (i.e. everything good). We don’t spend enough time focused on giving thanks for what we’ve been given. It shouldn’t just be one day out of the year.
As I observed the endless articles, blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates last week about the TSA’s annoying new security measures, I thought about how much we take for granted and forget to be thankful for. Instead of being thankful that no 9/11 repeats have occurred in America, we moan about having to take our shoes off in the security lines. Instead of being thankful that we have shelter, clean water, plumbing, electricity and warm clothes, we go nuts when Facebook does a redesign.
I’m not saying there is nothing worth complaining about, or no injustices worth fighting against. There are. We just need to keep things in perspective and focus a little bit more on positivity, thankfulness and hope, rather than grumbling about how much of a chore it is to get on a plane and fly somewhere we want to go.