People say the way to happiness is gratitude. But sometimes what stands in the way of gratitude is feeling like I don’t deserve all the good in my life. Not in a self-hatred sense but in that I just compare myself to those less fortunate. And I wonder how it is fair that equally good-hearted people are not as lucky.
Tim and I lived in London for three years and that is where we started our married life so for our wedding anniversary, we went back to England to celebrate. On our way from the beautiful Lake District, we turned on BBC radio in time to hear of a terrorist attack on tourists in Tunisia, a famous destination for Europeans. The attack was on two of the most popular beach resorts in the area. Tourists were enjoying the beautiful day on the beach in the mid-summer high season when a gunman started shooting, taking 38 lives 30 of which were British at a hotel in Sousse. This happened just three months after 21 tourists were attacked by gunmen at the Bardo National Museum in the capital city of Tunis.
There are enough accidents and illnesses that can make this world a sad place but what makes it cruel is how you could be enjoying a family vacation on the Meditarean or praying in your church in South Carolina one minute and get shot with so much hatred and lack of purpose the next. Both times so defenseless and harmless that it all seems so pointless. What does this prove?
In the taxi en route to the airport at the end of our trip, we saw a “visit Tunisia” advertisement on the push-up seat in front of us. l love to travel, especially to exotic places I have never been. I could picture Tim and I a few months prior while we lived in London seeing that ad and adding Tunisia to our bucket list of places to visit before we move back to America. Unfortunately, the number of foreign visitors to Tunisia has dropped by 20 percent following the terror attacks this summer.
I could see us being there around the time of our wedding anniversary. I could also imagine that incident happening in Lebanon, from where I am originally and to where I dream of bringing Tim every single summer, pending stability in the country.
What scares me the most is not the fear that could have been us, but it is how much I relate to all of those people laying on the beach that day. How much they must have been enjoying the sunshine on their face they’d been craving after a rainy British summer. How long they probably saved up for their annual family holiday. How delicious that pina colada must have tasted and how warm the ocean must have felt. How they probably took smiling, glowing selfies moments before that happened. How lucky they must have felt.
I have a lot for which to be thankful – I am healthy. I have a loving husband, a supportive family, great friends, financially stable with the ability to do what I love. But I guess I’ve always been afraid of the high highs and the low lows and I feel most comfortable when I’m happy but not so lucky that the luck may run out.