*Our skies may be gray, but the air is not filled with radioactive matter.
* It may be raining, but our homes have not been swept away by a tsunami.
* We may feel tired, but at least the beds we did not want to crawl out of this morning are going to be there when we get home tonight.
* We may balk at a $5.00 coffee (and probably should...), but we're not standing in line for hours to buy a paper cup of soup and a meager slice of pizza for $20.
*Our gas prices are going up, but we do not have a fuel crisis, a gas shortage; at least we have travel options.
* Traffic is bad, but our roads are still intact.
* Grocery costs are escalating, but the stores are abundantly stocked and the lines very short.
* We may have gotten irritated with a loved one or friend or coworker today, but at least we know where they are, that they're alive.
* We may feel burned out, like we need a vacation from our jobs, but praise God we get the luxury of going to work and receiving a paycheck.
* We may be unemployed and in a frustrating search for work, but we still live in a city and country where businesses are open and able to operate, where buildings have not been demolished in an earthquake or fire, where job openings still occur daily.
Believe me, I'm not trying to be self-righteous. I'm not saying I haven't heard some petty statements come out of my mouth the past few days in light of what Japan is facing. I'm saying, when we put it in perspective, the things we so often complain about suddenly appear, well, irreverent, disrespectful and minor. When we catch ourselves saying these things, let's not let ourselves off the hook too easily, but silently turn and point our attention to those headlines. It seems to me that now is an opportune time to practice gratitude for what we have and prayerfulness for those who are suffering so intensely. Beginning with myself.