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Things that matter

First Thought

What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? Right when you opened your eyes?  Your job, friends, or Money? Perhaps you had a bad dream that woke you up. Or if you're like me, a lovely cramp in your calf was your morning wake up call.

It's funny to me the things we allow ourselves to dwell on. We get ourselves so worked up over situations that honestly don't matter much. Am I popular enough? Does so in so like me? Why don't I have abs? Will he/she call me? Can I raise enough money to buy those $300 jeans? Or my personal favorite, why am I single?

I get it; we want what we can't have. But think about it, are the things keeping your attention really important in the grand scheme of things? Perhaps you're young and wondering what your future holds. Perhaps you're a bit older and questioning what is in store for you. Those are valid feelings. I wonder if we should stop for a moment and think about things even more important.

Real Need

It's a safe to say, if you live in the United States, you're probably living better that most people in the world. That said, it is alarming the kind of poverty you can see in the U.S. I live in the Lincoln Park/Lakeview part of Chicago. Just four or five miles south, there are students being led to school in "safe zones"; to avoid gang violence. Now THAT is something to think about!

The story of Shane Bitney Crone, is so moving. Losing Tom, his partner of six years, in a simple accident is heart breaking enough. Being kept from his funeral and refused his rights by Tom's intolerant parents was pure hell. I'm sure most of us have not experienced that sort of worry.

I don't mean to say your worries and aren't important, but if you take some time to honestly search your life and experiences, would you find that there are folks out there who are struggling a great deal more than you are? Seriously, think about it!

My Sainted Father always has the best advice when it cames to perspective. Whenever I feel sorry for myself or place importance on silly things, his suggestion was to get out, listen to others, and serve in some way. I recently tested this. I was feeling blue over a situation, which honestly wasn't as bad as it could have been. In fact, I was more blessed than cursed in the experience. Still, I was down a bit. So, I went out by myself with the aim to listen. Boy did I hear a lot; people without homes, jobs, and even a lost family member. It reinforced the truth, that my situation was way less than I thought. My eyes were opened to things that really matter.

What matters? What truly matters? Have we placed importance on things that are simply silly? Our challenge is to take a moment and honestly think. I believe we will see that our grumbles and wishes are not as worthy as we thought.

Bill Pritchard
Senior Vice President, Community Affairs
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