Thursday, August 16, 2012

Today's MOMENT OF ZEN 8/16/2012

Words and Photo by F LoBuono

OK. I'll admit it. I am a pampered American. The quality of my life is excellent. I have a good job. I eat well. I have a nice place to live. I have decent transportation. I own "things". Overall, I live well.  And, I believe that, if most Americans look at it with proper perspective, they would say the same thing. Despite what many naysayers would bemoan, we still have the highest standard of living on the planet. In fact, it could be argued that we are, indeed, spoiled by that fact. I believe that I am. This mindset manifests itself in small, almost indiscernible ways. For example, I know that if, when using one of the MANY computers I have access to (including two that I own), it takes more than 5 seconds to give me what I asked for, I'm pissed off! This is spoiled. Why? Because I've come to expect it to be faster. I take it for granted that it will be there when I want it to be there. This happens over and over again in our everyday lives. And this can cause us to forget how fortunate we are. There are MANY people in America and around the world who don't even have access to a computer, much less own one.

This concept was made clear to me this week. Because of certain changes in my life, I've had to alter my lifestyle. This included a change in residence. Fortunately, as a spoiled American, I had more than enough "things" to have made the transition fairly easily. And what I didn't have directly, my mother and sister donated. However, one thing that I did not have was a bed. I actually had a mattress (that I was within days of throwing away!) but no box spring or bed frame. Now, I'm not THAT spoiled! At least I HAD a mattress. I could just throw on the floor in the bedroom and sleep there. And I did - for weeks. No biggie. Been there. Done that. Then, about two weeks ago, my sister said to me, it's time to get off the floor. IKEA has some nice bed frames and box springs. Cheap. Let's go. So, last Saturday, my sister and I braved the barbarian horde found at IKEA on any given weekend, and bought me a box spring, bed frame, and night table - for $250! We done good. Over the next two days and taking 6 freakin' hours (a posting for another day), I assembled the set. Despite the Herculean effort to put it together, it was worth the effort. It looks great, and, better still, it FEELS great! I can't tell you how good it feels to get off the floor - LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY! The box spring is a radical, Swedish design that, so far, has provided great support. And, mentally, it provided me with a sense of security; the apartment is complete. I sleep well ( at least for me!). I am safe. I am home.

At the same time, I took a moment to think of what it's really like to not sleep in a bed and of those whose who NEVER do. At various points in my life, I have had challenges like my most recent one. And, in the past, I've slept on couches, orange crates, pool tables, in cars, and, yes, even on mattresses on the floor (as well as the floor itself, LOL!). But these situations always proved to be temporary. I knew that they would be. However, there are those among us whose circumstance prevents them from sleeping on a nightly basis in their own beds. In fact, their situation is the polar opposite of mine. Where I always knew that my challenges were temporary - I would always eventually end up in my own bed - there are too many whose beds are temporary and know that, sooner or later, they will be back on the street.

This is unacceptable. EVERYONE deserves the safety and security of sleeping in their own bed. A good bed. A real bed. The first step in accomplishing this is awareness. So, when you slip under the covers of your comfortable, safe bed, take a moment to think of others who are not as fortunate. Think of the men, women, and children who lack even the most basic of human needs - a safe, warm bed. When you do, and commit to doing something about it, you'll sleep better. I did.

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