I was driving with my daughter past a major interchange in the Twin Cities which is only a few miles from our home. There are retaining walls going up, no less than eleven giant cranes spiked toward the sky, tons of cement and rebar holding up what will be new roads to make travel less congested for us.
I pondered, “How cool is it that we don’t need to know that stuff?! Somebody else figured it out!”
Most of us live a life surrounded by conveniences. We travel highways that someone else engineered and constructed to handle extreme temps, heavy weights, drainage issues. I have no clue how to dry a coffee bean (are they even dried?) or make the pottery mug I am sipping from right now. When I talk to my mom on the phone, it still amazes me that somehow it sounds “just like her” – only the sound of her voice is coming out of my cell phone, while she lives far from me.
Bouncing through life with our daily routines, concerns, responsibilities, it’s common to miss the magic and miracles around us that are seemingly just “there”, expected. The natural world cycles with growing, blooming, feeding, seeding, decay. Ants are in constant busyness building their domed castles. Bees, birds and breezes handle pollination. The maple tree isn’t bitching because it’s growing next to the pine and the elm who are stealing some of its sun. Or maybe it is. Nature as a whole seems to be doing just fine without much “people input”.
Yet, there is so much else beyond the natural world we expect as a “what is” because some artist, inventor, engineer, builder, healer, teacher saw a need and decided to do something about it. They stood for something to improve life for all of us. Cobblestone roads were better than dirt/mud, so someone had to figure that out to put a bunch of stones together in a path centuries ago to form roads. “People input” has been used to harness the knowledge and resources of nature for food, building products, heat, transportation, medicine.
If not for ongoing curiosity and genius ideas from many considered “crazy”, the ones who came up with solutions for the betterment of society, we wouldn’t have a global system to even define “time”, much less an alarm with a customized ring tone feature on our mobile devices.
Here’s how to recognize how spoiled you really are. The next time you are sitting in traffic, whining about rush hour, remember these few tidbits and see what that does for your disposition: You didn’t have to know how to build or operate the construction equipment that was necessary to build the road that you are crawling on. You didn’t have to write your drivers manual or car manual or know where to place the street signage so everyone plays the same game by the same rules and stays on the correct side of the road going same direction. Somebody somewhere figured out how to engineer and build the car/bus you are riding in, and figured out how to refine the gas and oil that makes its engine work. “People input” also generated the radio/CD player/iPod options for you to learn something or listen to music that you didn’t have to know to record. Oh, and the surround sound isn’t hampered by outside traffic noise, because you can keep your windows up to regulate the car temp with A/C or heat, all for your traffic-sitting pleasure.
No matter what your journey/destiny on any given day, be glad that you don’t need to know all that much. Some geniuses solved a bunch of your daily life for you long before you knew you needed them. With most of the heavy lifting already handled in your day, you can do the work you are called to do without the illusion of inconveniences. Those awaiting you at your destination will be glad you took some time to realize how spoiled you really are.