Oh. my. goodness. I am writing late today and as I sit at my desk, the sun is setting over the river. I can see it right out my window. It. is. gorgeous.
Today was a pretty bleak day weather-wise. Cold and gray. And the task on the to-do list was also pretty bleak: a trip to the Secretary of State’s office, or as it is known elsewhere — the DMV.
If you ever want to feel like you don’t live in a free, democratic society, go to the DMV. It’s the only place in America where I feel like I am a pawn. I stood in line to get a number — not kidding. Then, I sat with that number for over an hour. Of course I made it out with what I came for. I didn’t have to bribe an employee or bring in a chicken or anything like that, but I sure did feel like I was in a prisoner to the system.
I wasn’t alone. Everyone there was complaining — Why does this take so long? I have been here for two hours already! I really had to pay $30 for this piece of paper?
It’s a glimpse at what people around the world have to go through every single day. A glimpse, not a clear look. Let’s be honest — we’ve got it pretty darn good. We’ve all got running water, a toilet, a refrigerator, heat, probably air conditioning, and if you are reading this, I will bet that you have access to the Internet. We’ve got so many clothes we can’t decide what to wear to the gym. And, yes, many of us have memberships to gyms. We have dozens, if not hundreds of channels on our televisions. We have already started purchasing Christmas presents for our families, our coworkers, our friends, and our spouses. We can drive, in our cars, to the nearest pharmacy and pick up a remedy for anything that ails us along with a gallon of milk, a bag of chips, and a pack of cigarettes if we wish. I’ve gone on too long, haven’t I?
So, I guess my point is that I have no right to complain about the DMV. It’s a pain — yes. I’ve been there three times since I moved to Ann Arbor. I am starting to recognize the employees. I have to dedicate a morning or an afternoon each time I go there. But it’s the only place I go where this is the case. The only place.
Even when I go to the University of Michigan for health care, I am seen in a reasonable amount of time by some of the top physicians in the nation, if not the world. I go to the Post Office and pay a small fee and my package is shipped anywhere I like. I drop by the library and borrow books, DVDs, and CDs, for free! I travel easily by highway or airline. I am free to get an education, to hold a job, and to vote.
Many in the world do not enjoy most of the privileges that we enjoy. We forget that. We forget that 38% of the world does not have access to adequate sanitation, half of the citizens of the world live on $6 a day, 24% of the people in the world have no electricity, 47% of the people in the world do not have a reliable or adequate food supply (If the World Were a Village, 2011).
I have much to be thankful for — I ate plenty all day long, I drove my car to Bible study where I was free to practice my religion, I came home to a warm house, I went out to the DMV, then came back home to sit at my computer, write whatever I feel like writing, and look out my window at the sun setting over the river. I am blessed.
Matthew 10: 8
Freely you have received, freely give.