Just a small thought: I think in life, we take a lot of things for granted and often really don’t appreciate what we have.

And we as Americans in particular, at times seem to appreciate less of what we have. This is a common feeling which is expressed by some of my patients who are of foreign descent. When I was a chief resident during my surgical training, I had a Russian resident with me. A very hard-working individual, he was actually quite an accomplished plastic surgeon back in Russia.

One day we were sitting together, each of us eating an apple and he said, “You know, people don’t appreciate how lucky they are to be able eat an apple.”

I looked up at him and said, “Why do you say that?” So he told me this story of his mother when she visited him from Russia. After she had been here a few days, he took her grocery shopping. He said the moment she entered the grocery store, she stopped in her tracks, and she stared at the fruits and vegetables that were there. The next thing he noticed were tears rolling down her eyes.

So he asked her, “Mom what’s the matter?” and she said, “We don’t even see an apple for months where I live, and the ones we get are all the same.” She was completely overwhelmed to see such a wide variety of apples available and the quantity in which people were buying them.

I think about this a lot, and I think he’s right. We do take things for granted. Perhaps we should learn how to appreciate them more. All we have to do is look around at what is happening in the world.

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