Saturday, December 20, 2003


Christmas is a time of
reflection which leads most of us to conclude we have it
pretty good, that we are blessed, fortunate, or just
plain lucky. For sure most of say we are "thankful" and
it strikes me that, depending on circumstances, that
word takes on different meanings.

"I am thankful
for my friends and my family." Most of us say that and
we mean it. We are thankful for others with whom we
enjoy meaningful relationships. We are "thankful"
because we believe them to be like ourselves and it is
easy to feel compassion for those whom we know and

I also hear people say they are
"thankful" because . . .

"I am not one of the 850
million people on this planet who will go to bed hungry

"I am not one of the 30 million people
who go to work in the United States everyday, but do not
earn enough to provide food, shelter, and clothing for
their families."

"I am not one of the 50% of the
world's population who live on less than $2 a

"I have a new car and he is still driving
that old one."

"I have a good job and he just
lost his."

It strikes me that being "thankful" by
way of comparing ourselves to others is not being
thankful at all, but just being relieved that our
burdens are not as heavy. We feel somehow different,
even superior, that we dodged the bullet while they
caught it right between the eyes.
It is sometimes
hard to tell what we are feeling, but I do know that it
does us good to think about what we feel and why we feel
it. When we look around and see others who were dealt a
poor hand of cards, what do we feel? Are we "thankful"
because we are different than they are, more fortunate,
somehow deserving of our fate? Or, are we "thankful"
because we recognize that we are the same, and that but
for our seat at the table when the cards were dealt, we
would be playing their hand instead of ours?

is an interesting question and perhaps the answer is
found in whether we find ourselves glad we're not in
their spot, or whether we want shuffle the deck and
redeal the cards.

Happy holidays.


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