I do learn something new most days. It also seems that I get lots of opportunities to adjust my perspective. I wanted to record a couple of such things that had a substantial impact on me in recent days.
Jennifer Goodenough (see her blog in my links) sent us an e-mail with an article about the impact of higher grain prices on people in Haiti. Life is marginal for many folks in Haiti during the best of times. As grain prices have risen lately, lots of Haitians have turned to a traditional practice to stave off hunger pains. They use local mud, mixed with a bit of salt and vegetable oil, to create dirt "cookies". These are made in large numbers and sold very cheaply (but not free!) in the markets. When grain is out of reach, families turn to eating this mud concoction: Eating Dirt . It is estimated that about a billion people are malnourished on this planet. Somehow, the extremity of eating dirt opened my eyes a bit wider to how terrible a problem that is.
The other perspecitve adjuster was watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly . The movie is based on the memoir of a man who was paralyzed by a stroke at age 40. He is completely paralyzed except for the ability to blink one eye. He can see out of that eye. He can hear. And his mind is fully functioning. His only means of communicating is to painstakingly learn to blink his eye at the right moment as someone recites the alphabet to him. In that way he is able to spell out words. Over months he "dictates" an entire book, which was published to critical acclaim. He dies of complications from the stroke ten days after the book is published. I walked out of the theater feeling tremendous gratitude for the ability to move, to touch, and to taste. This morning I added those to my list of things I regularly thank God for. I realized that I had been taking such things for granted. I hope it will be a long time before I do so again.