Monday’s Meditation: On Privilege & Perspective

Monday, August 6, 2018

There are families that have refrigerators with built-in water and ice spouts and there are those that don’t.

Mine was (is) the latter.

Years ago, we did have an insta-hot faucet. It was brilliant and made making tea about as easy as blinking. It would break in time and subsequently be abandoned/uninstalled.

But a refrigerator water spout was on another level, a level for which my family was certainly not fancy enough. We weren’t hauling water from the local well, but were also not the type of family that updated their appliances with any sort of regularity. By “any sort of regularity” I mean “ever,” because as far as I can recall, the fridge currently in my parent’s house is the one that’s been there for as long as I’ve been alive. Its exterior is white and pebbly-textured and its special features include creating a cold food vortex wherein you can never find anything and when things finally resurface, they resemble a science experiment. You know the kind.

You can only imagine my bated elation, then, when I opened the brand new refrigerator in my brand new, newly purchased home and discovered that there, surreptitiously placed just inside the door, was a small button and spout.

“What’s this do?” I pressed, eliciting a stream of water to pour forth from the spout. “Oh my gosh.” I gasped.

It’s astonishingly easy to become unaffected by one’s privileges. Our egos are programmed to greedily flit from shiny thing to shinier thing, the former (now less shiny thing) always waning in importance subsequently.

We need to find something to hold on to, something that serves as a constant reminder of our progress and our privilege.

It is being attuned to the blessings of the smallest, Simplest things in our lives that most effectively grounds us in gratitude, I find. So, I remind myself constantly what a beautiful thing that damn water spout is.

I drink a ton of water; I spend whole minutes of every day pressing on that little button. I fill my glass and gulp down as much of the cold liquid as I can, and then I say out loud, “I love water. Water’s my favorite.” It’s all a bit dramatic and overdone, and City just laughs and shakes his head at my ridiculous ways. 

But I figure that if I can continue to celebrate the glorious blessing that is an in-fridge filtered water spout, I will never stray too far from a place of gratitude. The day I go to fill my water bottle from that spout and don’t realize how gloriously fortunate I am to have pure, clean, cold water available to me at the press of a button will be a troubling day, indeed. 

Each of us needs a daily touchstone of gratitude. Something that we give thanks for every single day of our lives. Something that instantly reminds us what matters most, reminds us that we are breathing rarified air, and reminds us that that which we might overlook may be, for someone else, just a dream. 

For me, it’s the fridge water spout. What is it for you?

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