I guess everyone is at least a little guilty of taking their fair share of things for granted in our society. A decent example would be each time the engine starts in our cars or trucks and we don’t give it a second thought. We put it in drive and our minds in neutral and off we go.

I’m not saying that I miss the by-gone days of driving hunk-uh-junks. I think part of these wrinkles are from my brow being creased in the old days while I tried to will those old cars and trucks to start. As if that was gonna help…

I had a flashback as I stood in front of the TV monitor like an almost drooling zombie. I pushed the gas nozzle into the gas tank and locked down the auto hold on the pump. Then I turned to watch the TV advertisements and useless information on the screen that captivated me like a fish gazing at a shiny lure. The gallons and dollars rolled by on the digital read out below it.

It was usually hot, at least that’s the way the playback went in my mind. I pried my eyes loose of the screen. I briefly eyed the gallons and amount of money being spent. I turned and studied the billowing rain clouds building in the east. I recall being deep in thought some thirty plus years ago now.

I always looked around while I was filling my gas tanks. As I looked around I was always pondering something, sometimes personal, sometimes work related. It wasn’t a religious moment or anything like that, but it was quiet time to contemplate. Of course there was no way to know at the time… I took it for granted.

Nowadays if my eyes aren’t locked on a TV monitor while I’m getting gas I’m on the phone or catching up on text messages.

Back in those days I would have never been suspected or accused of being a Joni Mitchell fan. But that didn’t keep any of us from being exposed to her biggest hit; Big Yellow Taxi. Even as a kid I knew that those simple lyrics were profound and very wise.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TILL IT’S GONE… they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

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I also remember some wise person warning me that “For all you get in this life, you have to give up something.”

The cars have TV’s in the back of the headrests… Air conditioning, that used to be a luxury, is now piped into the seats, as well as heat for the chilly winter days. The radio has graduated from AM then FM to satellite now. Even a heater on the steering wheel for crying out loud…

If those aren’t enough to keep us occupied we have our cell phones. And if by the long shot chance we’re not on them when we’re getting gas, we have the TV monitor at the gas pump…

All of these technological advances are awesome in their own right. But that person was right; for all we’ve gained… we’ve lost much.

All the luxury items we now count as necessity pale in comparison to the miracle of life and this earth that it distracts us from.

“The earth declares His majesty”. But we can’t see it… we’re too busy looking at screens… and taking God’s greatest gifts for granted…