There Are Nights that I Wonder

How can I live in this country and enjoy its protection, freedom and excess–when ninety percent of the world lives in abject poverty? How can I have a clear conscience for enjoying that frappucino when its very cost represents the price of a month of AIDS medication in Somalia? For paying thirty dollars for an eight ounce steak when that grain that fed the cow could have fed dozens of households for a month? For worrying about how my clothes look? (Clothing, that no doubt was produced by children in said abject poverty?)

So much matters to me, yet matters not to the rest of the world. I worry about the tiniest, niggling things where there are people worrying about their next meal. In this country, no less. I complain about a hangover. People die for being a Palestinian, or an Israeli. I worry about rent. Somewhere in the world, there are people who felt that they had no other option than to fly two planes into two buildings. I claim an ethnicity that has nothing in common with me, other than blood.

The truth is, I try not to think about these things, and for now, it works. It works for a lot of people, not just me.

But I guess it can only work for so long.

I have not had a hard life. And I am thankful. But I’m not doing anything to give back–and that bothers me.