As a nation, we are more known for pointing out what is wrong than for expressing gratitude. Famous quote at the end of an international conference:”You put us Germans in a very uncomfortable position – there was nothing to complain about!” 🙂
So to see the whole country stop just to say thank you and to celebrate is quite something! Yet it is what happened earlier this month when Germany was marking 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There was gratitude, there was joy, there was celebration.
As I was reflecting on the event, it struck me just how important it is even in the midst of challenges to stop and to remember all those reasons we have to be grateful. There were and there still are a lot of challenges that came out of the events of 9 November 1989, and they do need to be talked about. But this was not the time for that. This was the time to remember the miracle and to be thankful.
The question is: will I remember this lesson in everyday life or will the challenges again crowd out the gratitude?
Heartbreaking and encouraging all at the same time.
Encouraging, because overall, people are living longer and healthier lives. In most places across the globe.
Heartbreaking, because there is and was so much that’s wrong. The wars that caused so much death. The selfishness that leaves others behind, across borders and within countries.
Encouraging because there is a lot of good that has come out of medical and technological advances that people have poured their hearts and energy into.
Heartbreaking because there also is a lot of bad.
Beyond all the numbers, there is so much that can never be measured, never be put into statistics – even snazzy ones like this. All the stories, all the individual lives. So much smaller and yet so much bigger than the whole.