I once worked with a man who grew up in a concentration camp in China. He was always so happy, even on the worst of days. I never saw him raise his voice, get frustrated, or even show a hint of sadness. I asked him about his sunny attitude, especially given his difficult upbringing.
It turns out that water was a rare commodity in the concentration camp. Prisoners gathered water from any source they could, fashioning intricate water collection systems on the roofs of their barracks or standing for hours waiting for their ration of water from the prison guards. Puddles were sources of fascination. Dew drops were carefully sucked off of fence links. Something that we take for granted in our daily lives was more valuable than gold in his childhood home.
Any time this man felt despair, anger, or frustration creeping into his core, he would head to the nearest faucet and turn it on. The flow of water would remind him of harsher times and the daily struggle for his own survival. No matter how bad things were today, he had lived through a hell that many did not escape.
Look deeply into your ordinary surroundings to find the beautiful… Maybe you’re playing with your young children, squishing Play-Doh between your fingers, laughing as you make the silliest little multi-colored animals that look more like aliens than puppies. Maybe your teen is sitting on the kitchen counter, telling you about her day as you cook dinner. Maybe a thunderstorm woke you up in the middle of the night and now you’re watching the lightning through your bedroom window. Maybe you’re happy just to have food in the refrigerator.
No matter where you look, you’ll find beauty in the small, mundane, and the ordinary. Appreciate these things while you have them in your life. It’s OK to live small.