“If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”
The presence of gratitude in a person’s life is a curious thing. In the United States where “luxury” items are enjoyed by a huge percentage of the population, anxiety and depression plague countless lives. At almost every level of society, people enjoy an abundance of stuff – shoes, clothes, computers, phones, and apps for nearly everything the imagination can conjure. Thus the obvious question: why do people who have so much seem so anxious and dissatisfied?
The answer is surely complex. But one thing is sure. We have been conditioned to believe that the acquisition of stuff and material abundance are essential to happiness. If this were actually true, most Americans would be brimming with joy. They would see their relative good fortune, and wake up each day to count their blessings. Yet this kind of perspective is fleeting at best.
A trip to Kibera (Kenya) with Crossing Thresholds is one possible corrective. The experience promises to disrupt the average person’s assumptions. How can people without decent shoes, nothing but second hand clothing, no big screen TV or laptop … be as positive as they are? How do they wake up and wear a smile on their face? How are they able to express any gratitude given their circumstances? The reasons are many. However at the core, these good folks seem to understand that lifestyle does not generate joy or gratitude. Those gifts come from a deeper source.
I like to think there are many good reasons to travel with Crossing Thresholds. Near the top of my list is the invitation to shift one’s perspective. To bear witness to the gratitude of those who don’t have easy access to clean water, decent shelter or the most basic opportunities IS the chance to recalibrate one’s personal gratitude meter. It is also the chance to glimpse a deeper source.