Last week I went camping in Canada with my family. It was glorious, and a trip I will always remember. However, I did get one complaint consistently from the kids… and my wife: We ate a lot of bagels and peanut butter.
Bagels and peanut butter are great. They don’t require refrigeration, can withstand being packed and unpacked from a backpack, and together they are a decent mixture of protein, fat, and carbs. Still, I must concede, they can get old after being included in multiple snacks and meals for several consecutive days. It is possible I should have thought a bit more deeply about alternative camping and hiking foods before we set off, but… I didn’t.
The novelty of bagels and peanut butter had long worn off by the time my family caught the ferry from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island. We knew we would be off the ferry and on a hike by the time lunch rolled around, and there was yet another peanut butter and bagel experience awaiting us there.
I was passing through the cafeteria area of the ferry when all my food luck changed. Sitting in plastic containers on every one of the tables, I saw something I had never before had strong feelings about: individual jelly packets.
You know the ones. They are usually grape or strawberry, and refrigeration isn’t required because they are consumed entirely when opened. I stood and stared at them. My heart filled with a joy I haven’t experienced since the Christmas days of my childhood.
When I turned my pockets out after leaving the ferry to show my family the treasure I had discovered, my oldest daughter teared up. “Can I…. have strawberry?” she asked in a choking voice. At that moment, we all knew that we had been taking jelly (and a lot of other things) for granted.
Reflecting on the joy I felt peeling open the packet of grape goodness to add it to my sandwich, I realized that we are surrounded by so many wonderful things that we don’t appreciate.
The ability to call an uber to our exact spot, get any sort of swanky coffee drink we can think of, or just drive a car… all incredible when you stop to consider them. I have three different kinds of mustards in my refrigerator. When did we get so much sandwich power? Have you ever stopped to think about how amazing it is that we can buy tomatoes at the grocery store all year long?
Consider the wonders we overlook in our practices. Ultrasonography is absolutely astounding. We put a probe on an abdomen and can see what’s inside real-time. We have vaccines that protect our patients from diseases that would otherwise kill a large percentage of them before their first birthday. We can go to surgery and remove a spleen to save a life. It’s all freakin’ amazing!
Look, I know this may sound over-the-top, but walk with me for a moment. Think about all that’s good around you and what you are taking for granted. Think of the little things that you rarely consider but that make the world a better, nicer, more comfortable place. It’s okay to allow yourself to feel wonder over things that you have access to every day.
We live in an amazing time. Don’t forget it.