Tuesday, February 21, 2017

So Much to Be Thankful For

this has been a difficult couple of weeks for my wife and me.  we have worked hard to make some repairs in our home and to do some decluttering.  none of the repairs were major but they required some diligent labor, and my body aches from them.  as we look around the house, we are pleased with what we've accomplished.  this morning, my mind turns to the sense of gratification one feels after the completion of a series of goals and the gratitude one feels for having the strength and perseverance to see a job through to its end.

gratitude is an important attribute, one that i often overlook.  there is much to be grateful for--health, clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, an abundance of food, more than adequate income, freedom to think-say-write-believe without fear of arrest or persecution, loving family and friends, a nice home--the list could go on and on.  i think of the many who are unable to make such a list, those who are hungry, homeless, poverty stricken, afflicted by disease, those who live in fear, the lonely, through no fault of their own.  they were born in the wrong place or to the wrong family.

why?  why was i so fortunate and they so unfortunate?  i did nothing to deserve the wonderful life i enjoy.  sure, i've worked hard, but without the luck to have been born in this country to a loving family and to have grown up not knowing real want, in many ways to have life handed to me, if not on a silver platter, at least on a pewter one.  without the advantages of my birth and the opportunities that came to me unmerited, my hard work would not have led me to the life i've enjoyed.  it is too easy to condemn those who don't enjoy the privileges that i enjoy, to say that they didn't work hard enough, that their culture is deficient, that their circumstances are of their own making, and sometimes that may be true.  but, too often, those of us who live lives of privilege forget to be grateful and to realize that our privilege results in large measure from blind luck.

so this morning, i think of all that i am grateful for, so little of it earned by my hard work, and i suffer because of those who work just as hard and see so little reward for their labor.  may i never think that i deserve this privileged life that i lead.  may i gratefully acknowledge the fortunate circumstances that have been mine and mourn that all beings have not had such good fortune.  may i do what i can to extend the benefits i've enjoyed to more and more beings, thus living out my gratitude for the blessings i enjoy.  may all be well, may all be happy, may all live in peace.  shalom.

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