Have you ever really thought about how fortunate you probably are? Have you ever considered comparing your situation to that of a refugee? Probably not, I can’t say I have ever given it much thought, but after researching this article I found it to be an interesting exercise in humility and compassion which I would like to share. You probably have some kind of roof over your head. Most people have a network of family and friends, some form of employment or profession and your life is probably relatively stable on a day to day basis. People just like you in Syria were in much the same situation just a few years ago. The GDP growth rate in Syria in 2008 was a healthy 5.67 with a net export of agricultural products and a growing tourism industry. People ran their own businesses, took vacations overseas, wore fashionable clothes and dined in chic restaurants. With a population of 22 million and a considerable middle class it was not that different to our home. My friends that have been there say it was a beautiful country. Then due to circumstances largely outside of their control, the lives of ordinary people were shattered when the bombs started falling, snipers appeared on rooftops as their children walked to school and the threat of chemical weapons was omnipresent. Up to a million have fled, they turned to friends and relatives in neighbouring countries,maybe they were able to rent a small apartment or relied on refugee camps and shelter from mosques. They abandoned decent jobs, their homes, health care, the dreams of academic excellence for their children, said goodbye to their neighbors, locked up their homes and ran for safety. Here is some advice from Fara Schemi speaking to Der Spiegel, Jan 29th 2013. In the event that readers of her story at some point in their lives have to flee their homeland, she wants them to take to heart her list of what to pack. "Passports, gold, bank records and deeds of property, very important," she says. Almost more important are all the things that keep you warm. "Blankets, warm clothing, sturdy shoes," says the 54-year-old. It's best to wear a heavy coat, even in sweltering summer weather. Oh and don’t forget your photo albums” Fara used to be a dietician, specializing in treatment for cancer patients. Now she lives with her family in a mountainous Lebanese border town in office space offered to them by a mosque that drops below freezing during the cold weather. What would you do? Where would you go? What would you leave behind? Spare a moment and try to imagine picking out a few favorite possessions, turning off the power and the water, locking the door in a futile gesture of security and walking away. Okanagan residents may have experienced a similar scenario if they have lived through an evacuation order for a forest fire. The difference is here we are battling nature, we are all pulling together on the same side and we have a safety net of insurance and social assistance if disaster falls. GENEVA, June 20 2014 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency reported on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people. That is a significant number of human lives impacted in this way. Don’t let’s forget them and remember to cherish the blessings in our lives.