By now I think everyone can tell I’m a bit of an avid Oprah follower. After work tonight, I did a little TV unwinding and watched the latest episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” and it made me completely and utterly overwhelmed with emotion. It was Oprah’s first visit to India and her first stop was the slums of Mumbai. She visited a beautiful family of 4 who, though they had so little themselves, greeted Oprah with flowers and gave her the traditional Indian welcome.
Then they welcomed her into their home; a home which consisted of a 10×10 room where the family both cooked and slept side-by-side, every single day and every single night. For most Americans (including Oprah) it would be a shocking sight to see such a tiny space and so many people taking up residence in it. For a lot of us, I think we would assume “they must be miserable living in that space” or “how do they even function living in such a tiny space?” Here we are used to our two story track homes and TV stations blare visions of “Million Dollar Homes” while the Real Housewives complain about the meager square footage of their mansions.
But you know what struck me even more than the size of this family’s home? How incredibly close and how incredibly happy they were. The father cried a little out of guilt for not being able to provide for his family more but aside from that, the entire interview the whole family sat there with beautiful, vibrant smiles on their faces. The father works incredibly hard so he can send his three daughters to school to get the best education possible, the eldest wanting to move to London and be a teacher. None of the three children expressed any discontent or unhappiness at their living situation. Instead, when asked, they all said they were “happy.” Yes…happy. And you could see it beaming from their faces.
This moment was a powerful one for me as I’ve often found myself complaining about my “closet-sized” room (and complaining about the closet itself). But watching this incredible family has shaken me into reality. A reality of appreciation for what I do have because it is so much more than so many others in our country and in countries abroad. So the next time you want to complain about your car breaking down, or your cell phone being outdated, or you house only being 1300 square feet, think of those families across the world that may be living in a 10×10 room…and being completely happy with it…smiles beaming. I know I am definitely going to do my best to do the same.