Hearing about the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan put me in a bit of a thoughtful mood last night, but exhaustion kept me from posting until this morning.

I love the idea that you can text in and donate money to help with efforts, but there is something about it all that seems hollow. It’s so easy to do and then go about life and forget everything that has happened. We may text in a donation while grabbing lunch and then silently curse the waiter for getting our order wrong. Or text before we head home and then flip off the drivers that cuts us off in traffic. Sure, we say, this is a horrible tragedy and we feel bad for the people who have lost everything in mere seconds, saying we will pray for those affected, but then what changes in our own lives? Do we sit back and appreciate everything we have, or do we continue to go about our days taking everything for granted?

We are born with nothing, and we will die the same way. And yet, when something happens and people lose everything, we continue living our lives with the same apathy as before. I’m not suggesting that we should all sit and mourn and do nothing but feel sorry for ourselves and everyone else, because that is worthless. But yet, we should be aware that everything can change in an instant. We can lose everything and everyone in the blink of an eye, with no warning, with no way to get it back, and all we can do is move forward. We too easily forget that.

Yes, I will pray for those affected by tragedy, and I will do anything I can to help relief efforts. At the same time, I will wake up with a new appreciation for everything — the bed I sleep in, the hot water I shower in, the clothes I wear, the food I eat, the birds that sing me awake, the car I drive to work — all these things I can lose instantly. These things do not define me. How I live my life is the only thing that I can control. I will be grateful for what I have, recognizing everything is temporary and every breath, every moment is a gift. Be grateful for your life.

Thank You.