I was wandering around in the lobby of our office building the other day trying to decide what I wanted to have for lunch when I spotted one of my colleagues sitting by herself. Since we seldom have a chance to chat about anything but work, I walked over to her and she invited me to sit down. After a short period of time, I couldn’t help but notice that she kept glancing at her cell phone and when it finally rang, she picked it up. I must say that I was a bit bothered by that as I thought that a personal conversation was a little more important than grabbing a cell phone call for a non-emergency work call but boy, was I wrong.
As I sat there listening to more tales of horror, I couldn’t help but commenting to her about the fact that those of us who live in this country are so fortunate. She was in complete agreement.And I was so grateful that I hadn’t jumped to any conclusions before I found out about the reason behind the distraction to our conversation.
When my friend ended the call, she apologized for having to answer it but it seems that no one in her family had heard from her brother and his wife who live in Mexico since 5 p.m. the day before. Since that was less than 24 hours, I asked her why that was alarming and she proceeded to explain to me about what was really occurring in that country.
The people there are afraid for their lives on a constant basis. They never know when they will receive a call with a demand for money and the threat of killing of family members if the money is not paid. It is not just the drug cartels but many groups who have a blatant disregard for life. The new method of killing has gone from throat slitting to attacking the heart. She described how people are starving, not because they don’t have the resources but because they are afraid to go to the store for fear of being robbed along the way. She described how people in this country send money to their relatives in Mexico to places like pharmacies or convenience stores, etc. but they never know whether they will receive it or not. It seems that when they go to pick it up, the stores may not be open or they may have it taken from them after they pick it up. She also explained how prisoners are allowed to run free at night and then return to the prisons in the morning as the police are threatened that if they do not release them, their families will be killed. There are so many more murders on a daily basis than any of us could ever imagine and no one knows if they might be the next one to die.
As I sat there listening to more tales of horror, I couldn’t help but commenting to her about the fact that those of us who live in this country are so fortunate. She was in complete agreement. She told me how fortunate she is to have what she does in this country. She talked about how the people in Mexico would do anything to have the opportunities that we have in this country. She talked about how people in this country have become so self-absorbed that not only are they not appreciative of the what they do have but they also are consumed with getting more “stuff” and have no concept of what is going on in the rest of the world. She talked about how grateful she is to live here and how she would do whatever she can to help her family members who are trapped in Mexico.
I thanked her. I understood exactly what she was saying and thought long and hard about how fortunate I am to have the life that I have in this country. And each night as I go to sleep, I give extra thanks for what I have and the life that I have been given as a result of having been born in this country. And I say an extra prayer or two for those good souls who are trapped in Mexico, living each day in fear and wishing that they had the opportunity to leave their country and live their dreams here in our country. And know that any work day that I find myself wandering around the lobby of my office building trying to figure out what I would like for lunch, I will think about those people who wish they had the opportunity to make such a choice and appreciate what I have and all that I have been given.
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Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.