First World Problems and a Pocketful of Sunshine

May 13

One Spring a few years ago there was a plug in the septic line and the toilet backed up. One end of our raised bungalow was flooded, upstairs and down – not a pretty scene. We cleaned it up with a shop vac, lots of fresh clean water and some bleach. The cause of the problem was fixed and I could get back to my normal life. Then a few days later the sump hole flooded the other half of the basement! We had inadvertently jammed the sump pump float when we were cleaning up the first flood.   

Soon after this I was telling my brother about our floods. “First World Problem,” he said, “that’s what we call it in our house.” I understood. It gave me pause and perspective, especially since I have lived where there were no flush toilets, septic beds, and running water.  What a good life I have to experience this problem!

Let us call “First world problems” those that are inconveniences, disruptive of our daily lives, relating to things that are passing or to our material comforts. Most of my problems are such. We have heard it said, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” and perhaps we have also heard, “everything is small stuff.”

Whether or not it is small stuff, we can find peace by going beyond the circumstances of our present moment. There is a calm in the eye of the storm, while the winds rage on the periphery. The ocean depths do not have the agitation and roughness of the surface. So, we too can find an inner anchor that will give us peace in the storms of life.

Natasha Bedingfield and Danielle Brisebois co-wrote the pop song, “Pocketful of sunshine,” affirming a “secret place… sweet escape … hiding place … home.” Bedingfield means this to be a positive, hopeful song … not one of escaping into something unhealthy.  I take her meaning; when I am troubled, whether my problems are big or small, there is a “home” place within me, “where the rivers flow” that renew me and where there are “butterflies,” those wonderful signs of joy and transformation. (Watch these children sing “pocketful of sunshine.

What is this “pocketful of sunshine”? For me it is the deep knowledge of the gift that is me. I Know that I am precious. I belong. I have a place in this universe. I was born of love – so are we all.

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for the amenities of life, that I don’t normally notice. Give thanks for the pocket of sunshine in me, my anchor in the storms of life.