Thoughts from 2020

Arabian Night

I originally wrote this to family on October 18th, 2020. Before we knew the results of the election…before Jan 6th. I was trying to share my perspective after spending most of 2020 outside of the U.S. living in an Islamic nation. We are very blessed in the U.S. and I think we often forget everything we have. – T.R. May 25th, 2021


I love being at home. Every time I leave the U.S. and come home, one of the first things I enjoy doing is going to the grocery store (After bear hugging the family, of course!). It’s so simple, something we all do regularly, but it’s something we can easily take for granted.

The news has been so full of “doom and gloom” this year, but I have to say, it doesn’t feel all that bad. I haven’t seen any riots, protests, people walking through the streets with guns, nor dead people in the streets from COVID. No, we are still extremely blessed. We are spoiled even!

In under an hour while shopping in South Carolina, I purchased:

  • Raspberries from Mexico
  • Blueberries from Peru
  • Spinach from Salinas, CA
  • Water from Fiji
  • Coffee from Sumatra
  • Olive Oil from Greece

Seriously, after eight months in the Middle East, this is amazing to me! Life is good in the U.S. Let’s not take it for granted.

However, I’ve spent the last few months watching nations with riots, protests, people walking through the streets with guns, and dead people in the streets. We have people on both ends of the political spectrum calling for violence this year. On the right, we have the anti-government militias trying to kidnap the Governor in Michigan with “their ultimate goal as a civil war.” 1 On the left, we also have people calling for violence. For example, a Colorado Democrat was videotaped saying the following “I believe there is absolutely justified violence in all sorts of circumstances.” Mr. Jacks also stated, “I do think there needs to be a militant group, and I love Antifa for that reason.”2

If you want a glimpse at what civil war looks like in 2020, look at Yemen. Over 250,000 civilians have been killed since 2014, and an estimated 16 million go hungry every day.3 Watch this short video from the BBC and tell me that the groceries I just bought aren’t fantastic.4

Another modern example of civil war is found in Ukraine. Although not as bloody as Yemen, more than 10,000 people had been killed, and nearly two million people had been displaced from their homes as of 2018.5 For a more personal look, check out this video, I’m with the old guy Slava.6

With all this going on, I think we need to remember how blessed we are. Our system is not perfect, but it’s the best system ever designed by men. The next time you go shopping, slow down and look around. Take five minutes and browse the 15 different types of peanut butter offered because life is good!


1. Zusha Elinson, Erin Ailworth and Rachael Levy, “In Michigan Plot to Kidnap Governor, Informants Were Key,” Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2020,

2. Valerie Richardson, “Pro-Antifa Colorado Democratic Party figure talks violence in Project Veritas sting,” The Washington Times, October 14, 2020,

3. Amnesty International, Yemen War: No End in Sight, Updated: 24 March 2020,

4. Reeta Chakrabarti, “Millions of children face starvation in Yemen warns United Nations,” BBC News, Jun 26, 2020,

5. Cynthia Buckley, Ralph Clem, Jarod Fox and Erik Herron, “The war in Ukraine is more devastating than you know,” The Washington Post, April 9, 2018,

6. James Reynolds, Ukraine crisis: BBC finds two ‘ghost town’ civilians in Vuhlehirsk, BBC News, Feb 9, 2015,

Published by Tyler Tennies

Finding Life in the Word is my place to share thoughts on life. I write every day and my page is a good outlet to write about topics I’m interested in.

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