By Abe Villarreal
With all the heaviness, the struggles, and the endless political battles that seemingly engulf all corners of the world, I'm always amazed at how we continue to get up and get going each day.
From viruses to violence, stock market dips, gas price ups, school sessions out, and high paying jobs hard to find, we manage to get up and get going each day.
What a wonderful statement on the resilience of regular people who find something in themselves to continue on no matter what comes at them. I hear often how hard life was during the depression and other darker periods of history. Come to think of it, life seems pretty good today, at least from where I'm sitting.
Sometimes, I look beyond my front porch and I see people really suffering. Neighbors, nearby, just south of our border, and neighbors far, far away. It's something that we don't do much of, think of people, regular people like you and me, living a life of extreme struggle.
We don't think of it because we don't have to think of it. Instead we focus on our struggles, like not being able to go on vacation or not having the luxury of buying a new T.V. this year. A friend complained to me recently that he was going to have to work overtime for a while so that he could afford to fly to Hawaii this year, and I thought to myself, life can be so tough.
We all have real struggles in each of our own lives. They can be big and overwhelming. The difference is that we have the privilege of having access to a society that helps us overcome those struggles – communities of people that care, education, advanced medicine, government assistance. We are blessed.
Others not so much. When I think of my hermanos and hermanas who are trying to make it to our wonderful country, crossing rivers of danger, suffering hunger and thirst, taking risks of life and death, I think of how I have everything I need in life, even if it's not everything I want.
We do live in a place that the good Lord has blessed. A place where there is still a dream that we can achieve, almost anyone can achieve with a little elbow grease and a whole lot of grit. A dream that people all around the world want to achieve.
Those other people are really just like you and me. They are putting in the hard work and courageous effort to accept living a life, in our own communities, that we feel is undesirable. You see, one part of America is all the wonderful things we read about and see on postcards, the other part of America is the one that we feel uncomfortable seeing, or believing.
It's the part that is filled with the trials and tribulations we only imagine outside our borders. People working day and night, doing back breaking labor for little pay and no recognition. They don't want recognition. That's the American value only we desire.
If you look really hard, you'll see them. They wait on park corners for a bus to pick them up in the dark hours of the morning. An hour later they arrive at fields filled with endless rows of delicious items we like to think are the beauty of American agriculture – tomatoes, chilies, lettuce, onion. You know, all the stuff we pay very little for because the cost to produce it remains low.
After a 12-hour day, they get home. Often, no one is there to pat them on the back. They have no ties to take off or comfy recliners to lean on. What they have is a few bucks in their pocket that will be split up to help fill the holes of a few other pockets.
And that, repeated in cities and towns throughout our grand country, are the wheels of our economy at work. Not the extravagant machinery of stocks and corporations, but still, the movements of an economy for which we benefit from in real ways.
Today, after I leave my air-conditioned office, I'll drive home in my new car and kick my feet up. In my comfort, I'll try to remember that most of what I'm not seeing I don't see because it's not an easy thing to look beyond my front porch.
Not unless I try.