A while back, my wife on a whim bought a whole bunch of gourmet fortune cookies, and this week we have finally cracked open the container and been munching on them.  The contents of the cookies are not so much fortunes as “thought-provoking messages.”  Tonight, my fortune cookie said: “Not a cloud in the sky. What will you do with this one perfect day?”

It provides good insight into my mood to know that my immediate and begrudging thought in response to this uplifting message was, “I don’t get to do anything with this one perfect day, because I have to go to work.”  I am, after all, a bit of a cantankerous fellow.

Yes, I do have to go to work, and yes, that does keep from doing many of the things that make my life feel fulfilling and meaningful.  I pay someone to play with my children so that I can go work?  What’s that all about?  But the world is filled with poverty — abject, debilitating, and often if not always preventable poverty.  More so now with the current economic climate, where miserable fortune has fallen roughly on those who were previously fortunate.  The unfortunate have become dire, the dire have become desolate, the desolate have probably become… dead.

So, while my first inclination is to gripe about having to get up in the morning to deal with annoying co-workers, departmental fiefdoms, egomaniacal bosses, internal politics, stress, exhaustion, and everything else… I have to stop myself and say, “at least I have a job” and just leave it at that.

Today, I am thankful for having work, and I am even more thankful for having work that is stimulating some of the time… work that sometimes lets me come home at the end of the day and think, “I helped someone today.”  I really can’t ask for more.

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