This post was originally published on the Equitas Blog. Read it by clicking here.
Yesterday, I dropped my car off for a $1200 transmission repair job. I made sure to grab my GPS from the car, though, just in case – I would really rather not have to buy a new unit just because somebody thought they would like mine.
Then my phone decided to act up. I was trying to sync my contacts between my iPhone, my computer, and the cloud. Somewhere amidst the exchange of information, every second name was injected with random characters. The only solution was to manually edit each contact and resynchronize the information across to my desktop and my laptop.
It was a long day. But I got home, reached in the fridge for a cold drink and plopped myself down in front on my television to see what new shows made it on to the DVR. Nothing. Really? All reruns?
I settled on the evening news. It’s a little disingenuous, though, to call it the news. It turned into a discussion about health care in this country. So many questions. Is basic health care a human right? How should we combat rising health care costs? What does it mean for my bank account at the end of the month? What does it mean for my bank account if I get sick? Why are the liberals invading our personal freedoms? Why are the conservatives so unconcerned with the well-being of everyone else?
My wife came home and we decided to just have cereal. It’s been too draining of a day to cook anything now. Thankfully we had plenty of milk, but all of the bowls were in the dishwasher. They were clean of course. It was just that the dishes were still warm from the heated drying cycle that had finished only minutes before.
I think it was at that point that I realized that I am awash in a sea of “first world problems”. Our family’s routine was interrupted by the temporary loss of a second automobile. Precious time from my day had to be devoted to salvaging my address book. Cold drinks. DVRs. Endless conversations that ultimately involve the cost-benefit analysis of providing other human beings with health care.
These issues that can deeply consume us and acutely divide us also distract us. We have become so preoccupied with ourselves and our own concerns and our own opinions and own own beliefs, that there is no attention left to be given to matters of real importance. Perhaps here in America’s culture of voracious consumerism and individualism people cannot help but lose sight of why it is the definition of humanity to act with justice and concern and love for one another.
Perhaps this is the ultimate first world problem. We see what we want to see and are deadened to reality. We hear what we want to hear and are deaf to the cries for help. Our purchasing power is unmatched. Our will is strong.
We can be all that we want to be.
And, still, people are hurting.