a priest's musings on the journey

Monday, August 28, 2006

Perspective: I'm A Lot Richer Than I Think

I hate to admit it, but I've been feeling sorry for myself lately. For days I've brooded and sulked because I can not find a job in a parish, have spent all of my savings and am basically living from paycheck to paycheck, do not get to see my son as often as I'd like, and have a very meager social life because I simply have neither the time nor money to go out with anyone except my closest and dearest friends.

I could certainly argue that I have a right to wallow around in self-pity, but I can't make that argument honestly. The last few days the Spirit has opened my eyes and reminded me how blessed I am. The first reminder occurred on Friday afternoon. I had just left work with my paycheck and was on my way to Wadesboro to celebrate the birthday of a friend. I was stopped at a traffic light and noticed to my left a 30's something, distraught man, head lowered, carrying a box with all of his possessions that had once held a place in his office. It was obvious he had just lost his job. I couldn't help but wonder about him. What had happened? Did he have a family to go home to? How would he tell them? Did he get a severence check? Was there enough money in his savings to get him through unemployment? Would he still have health insurance? What would happen to him? As much as my current secular job sucks, and as much as I pray with all of my heart to be employed in the church again, the image of his hanging head calls out to me, beckoning me to be grateful for the job I do have.

In Wadesboro, the conversation after dinner wandered to a discussion about a young family whose infant son has recently been diagnosed with lieukemia. The family is devastated, obviously. They are frightened and worried about what might become of their son. Will he suffer too much from the treatment? Will the treatnent even work at all? Will their dreams for his future ever have a chance to materialize? And then, of course, there are those nagging questions that often times creep into our hearts: Did I do something to cause this? Is God punishing me? Has God abandoned me? As much as I grieve not being able to see my son everyday, and as much as I lose patience with not being able to talk with him on the phone each day, the distraught faces of those frightened parents cries out to me, calling me to be thankful that my son is healthy and strong.

Today, the news has been filled with stories of Katrina survivors. I've seen pictures of gutted out houses and even more pictures of heaps of rubble, spilling into the streets in sections of New Orleans that are still uninhabitable. Many of the people from these parts of New Orleans are being housed in small trailers- housing scarcely adequate for a single person accomodating entire families. How can this be? How can American Citizens still be living in third world conditions a full year after the disaster? Have the survivor's lost hope? Do they feel abandoned by their leaders? Will their lives ever be the same again? I look at the rubble and the crowded trailers, and I am indicted for my complaining. No, I can not afford the four bedroom house on the lake anymore. I can not afford to hire a landscaper, I can not send my clothes out to be laundered, I can not hire a nanny for my son; but I have a home, I have the strength to take care of my own lawn and to launder my own clothes. In fact, I lack nothing. Not only am I wealthier than most people on this planet, in spite of my lack of resources, I am also rich in the most important treasures. I have an abundance of the riches of family, friends, health, creativity, imagination, and intellect. My life is quiet and peaceful. There is no violence in my neighborhood. I am not worried about being shot or abducted or enslaved. I do not live with the fear that a bomb might drop over my head any moment. I still enjoy basic civil liberties and freedom to be who I am and say what I believe.

So, how dare I sulk. I am blessed more than I deserve. I live a life that many in the world can not even dream of anymore. How dare I sulk, when I should be offering prayers of Thanksgiving and learning more about how to be involved in making a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate than I am.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.

padre rob+
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 7:48 PM


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