Appreciate What You Have

Yesterday I was looking through my window at the sunny sky here in Southern California, thinking how beautiful it is when the sun is finally shining after so many rainy, gloomy days.

The sun glowing on the azure sky, making the lush greenery in my garden even brighter, was simply putting me in a happy mood. Me, the same person who constantly complains that she dislikes the always-sunny California climate!

Then and there I realized that I have enjoyed the weather in Europe because of the frequent changes in atmospheric conditions. I would appreciate the sunny days more, simply because they were following a cool, unpleasant season.

This translates into a bigger picture: if you’re always well off, you don’t have a chance to realize how lucky you are. Only after you have experienced being hungry, you will value a good meal. Only after you’ve been sick, you will treasure the days of good health. Only when you spend some time away from your loved ones, you are able to appreciate their presence in your life.

When I was a little girl, my favorite story, told by my Grandma, was the one I have dubbed ‘The Man, the Rabbi and the Goat’. It went like this:

There was a man living with his wife and their seven children in a tiny house. Due to the lack of space they were very uncomfortable, so the wife sent the man to rabbi for advice. Rabbi listened to the man’s complaint, thought for a while and told the man to invite the in-laws to live with them. The man was surprised, but haven’t said a word and did as the rabbi suggested.

The days went by and the situation did not improve a bit - the family was even more uncomfortable. So the wife sent the man again to the rabbi for advice. The rabbi thought for a while and instructed the man to invite his sister and her husband to stay with them. The man was stunned, but did what the rabbi told him to do.

After a few more days, miserable because of the cramped living space, the wife sent the man to the rabbi, again. This time it took the rabbi more than the usual time to think before he finally asked the man: ‘Do you have a goat?’ After the man confirmed, the rabbi directed him to bring the goat to live with the family in the house. The man did not say a thing and, resigned, brought the goat into the already impossibly packed house.

As the days went by, the family was living in crowded quarters, unhappy and irritated. The man couldn’t have any more of it, so he went to the rabbi. This time, the rabbi’s answer came back instantly: ‘Get rid of the goat!’

The man run back home and lead the goat out into the field.

Next week, the rabbi met the man on the street and asked how the family is doing. ‘Oh, rabbi' the man answered, 'we have so much more room after the goat is gone! No one complains anymore!’

Reach out for opportunities to experience the lack of something that you are taking for granted in your life - people, things, feelings - to learn how to be happy with what you have.

Appreciate what you have right here, right now. Lucky you!

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