Today I had the experience of sitting in a ultrasound clinic chair with a sick kid in my lap for a couple of hours. Initially I was running a loop of boredom and frustration in my head and complaining about how annoying this was internally but after a bit I realized what a whiner I was being. Elli has been very sick regularly these past couple months and though every time she is sick a course of antibiotics gets her back on track very quickly the illness returns a couple of weeks later. Our doctor is baffled and we are delving deeper into the medical system trying to find a real fix for her problems.
My epiphany occurred as I imagined what my situation would have been like even 100 years ago. Elli might well already be dead from the infections she has been suffering from and at the very best she would be desperately ill and unable to have much of a life. My options for healing her would have been to beg for intercession from an imaginary friend, consult some snake oil salesman or take her to a doctor who would at best be unable to help and at worst would do something to make the situation worse. Given that it is pretty ridiculous to complain that I have to sit in a pretty comfy chair doing nothing for a few hours so that my daughter can get amazingly fast and effective (not to mention free) health care.
There are plenty of annoyances in modern life and some things about living in the 21st century aren't perfect but we really should keep our perspective and be grateful for simple things like antibiotics, clean water, and decent sanitation. We complain a lot about the various indignities we have to suffer but take away any of those three things, or indeed any number of other necessities, and suddenly the pettiness of much of our complaints is obvious. It is hard to keep that perspective day to day though; we are built to compare everything to what we are used to and not any sort of historical standard.