This week a wise woman said to me that a major reason for the lack of happiness and the emotional struggles we face in our society are based on first world problems. She explained that our culture is a breeding ground for over thinking things and making the small stuff huge. She shared a story about a shepherd who went to an Arabic hospital complaining that he couldn’t hear out of his one ear. After looking in it the doctor took a syringe and shot some liquid into it. A moment later a dead cockroach slid out. The doctor shot a little more liquid in and another dead cockroach came out. The doctor did this again and again and again until seven dead cockroaches surfed out of this man’s ear. My guess is the doctor wasn’t as casual about this as I’m writing it: “Um, you’ve got a cockroach burial ground in your ear. That’s um…nasty. I really want to have a shower in disinfectant.” Apparently in the great outdoors where this man works and sleeps, it gets cold at night, so little critters look for places to stay warm. Since he sleeps on his side, his one ear made for a cozy little bed and breakfast. To me the fact that they were cockroaches is even worse than if it were spiders. Cockroaches are nasty! The name alone sounds disgusting; like a really bad STD: “I have roaches where?” or a bug that would be a good decoration at a dirty bachelorette party. The doctor asked if the man wanted him to properly disinfect the ear or give the man earplugs to prevent this from happening, but the man just left content that he could hear better. I’m pretty sure if I was that man seeing dead bugs shoot out of my ear I’d be like “AAAaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh (breath) AAAHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh (breath) AAAHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh!” because that’s disgusting. I remember a story about a missionary who worked in an African village and, besides sharing the Gospel with the people, he was responsible for ripping out the villagers’ rotten teeth… there was no anesthetic. He was given this job because he had pliers; the dentist doesn’t seem so bad now does it? His other job was to remove peoples’ tape worms, which was a job that would take 3-5 hours and included a stick and slowly wrapping the worm around it. These are NOT first world problems.
First world problems are anything to do with looking proper and/or beautiful, having a fancier car, shopping, being a vegetarian (poorer countries have people who are grateful just to have food to eat) pretty much anything to do with a wedding (how many problems arise before a wedding that really matter? For me, it’s been about 1%; the rest are all first world problems), and anything related to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. I know this is a sensitive topic, but at this point in my understanding, trying to decide if you’ve been born the wrong gender isn’t something someone who’s worried about their family starving or their village being raided are worried about. The fact is our society has so many mental health issues because we have the money and means to worry about such things. We are confused and unhealthy because we’re spoiled.
Issues that aren’t first world that are important in our society:
- Feeling loved by people you love
- Being able to provide for your family
- Trying to raise your kids in a healthy way
- Being treated with respect and appreciation
- Understanding sickness and death
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a better understanding of what should really matter to us. This week may you start to see that so many of our problems don’t need to be the problems we think they are, and if you have root problems like understanding sickness and death may this week lead to some better understanding.
Rev. Chad David, www.ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people