Monday, November 22, 2010

Amen and amen

It doesn't take much to make you realize how lucky you've got it when you sit down at a table with a friend, face-to-face, who is struggling just to get dinner on the table. Makes things very real, very fast.

So here it is: I have been blessed in this life with many wonderful things that I take for granted every single day. I have a reliable job. I have a pantry full of food. I can send my kid to preschool and can even consider making sacrifices to send her to private school -- in other words, I have so much that I'm actually able to give things up. I might have to wait until the next paycheck to buy those new shoes I want, but I can buy them. I can go out for a night with my girlfriends and know that this splurge, just for me, won't have a direct - and negative - impact on my family. I have health insurance and, more importantly, I have my health. I own the roof over my head and the car sitting on the street in front of it. I can buy plants and flowers to grow just because they're pretty, then have the audacity to complain about breaking a sweat to care for them. I have more opportunities than I can begin to imagine, then let fear keep me from taking advantage of those that are staring me in the face.

I know God. I know that He is here, with us and in us. I have no idea how He works, why my life is overflowing with comforts while others' are overflowing with hardship, but I do know that He is equally present in both. He is a great and wonderful mystery, and I am blessed to live in a time and place where I can not only say that, but I can write it for all the world to see. The small things that I can do to help someone are not nothing but they sure do seem to be when compared to the unimaginable things that God can do. And so while I sit and wonder how I can begin to help make a dent with the real-life, day-to-day struggles of just one family I am reminded that my offerings have to be matched with my prayers, and a hope that God will become known in their lives and hearts. Not for the sake of salvation but for the sake of hope and peace.

Look: I've had hard times. We all have. And though I'm certainly guilty of doing so in the past, I'm no longer in the business of saying who has it better or worse in this life. What I want to do - no, what I need to do, is learn to live in the knowledge of my blessings rather than the frustration my desires. I need to meditate every day on the needs of others and craft a life that is designed to help meet those needs, no matter how big or small. I need to live a Thanksgiving life rather than celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday.

Heaven help me.


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