Gratitude: Why You Need A Shedload Of It

For all it’s scenic splendour, and rich cultural and historic heritage, the one thing that shocks me every time I visit South Africa is the humongously obvious gap between rich and poor.

Million dollar mansions with swimming pools rub shoulders with colourful townships, where millions of people live under the line of poverty.

European foreigners enjoying dinning al fresco, whith little colour kids begging at the table.

People everywhere you go will offer to mind your car for 2Rand, that’s about 20Cent.

My husband John woke up early one morning to work out down at the beach in Camps Bay. When he got there he found a group of colour kids in ragged clothes that had spend the night there (and probably many nights before), who stared astounded and giggled while he trained.

While in Knysna, a popular coastal town, I had the privilege of being invited to a bbq with a local couple. The woman, Ricky,a beautiful and eloquent librarian with a thick book’s worth of life stories to tell, said that one of her sons, a very entrepreneurial fellow, had started a business making garden sheds.

Her son was supposed to join us for dinner too. A phone call later, she announced he wouldn’t be joining us for the bbq  after all as he had clients he had to attend to.

“Wow, this late?” I thought to myself.

Curiosity got the better of us and we all enquired as to how his business was doing.

She said it was doing really well and that he had a lot of enquiries, especially from people in the townships.

She also said that her son had made her a shed, with a corrugated plastic roof and water resistant wood, that she had placed in her own garden.

One day, the man who did the landscaping maintenance in their state, a young colour fellow, happened to walk past her garden, and she asked:

“What do you think of this garden shed?”

To which he replied:

“I’d love to live there, Ma’am”

My heart jumped up to my throat when I heard this, and I was barely able to fight the tears.

So many of us spend our days moaning about what we have and what we don’t have.

We think we don’t have enough. We want more, more, more.

But until we find ourselves in a situation in which we’d be happy to live in a garden shed, I think we’d be better off being truly grateful for what we have.

By all means always working to better ourselves and enhance our lives, but with a sense of perspective and respect for those who have so much less than us.

Hopefully, we will never have to walk in their shoes, but sometimes, it can be useful to put ourselves in their shoes for a few moments just so we can reclaim our sense.



“Reflect each day on all you have to be grateful for, and you will receive more to be grateful for”

~ Chuck Danes



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