Friday, July 20, 2012

All That We Have

Some years ago I underwent an attitude adjustment. I can't even pinpoint the exact moment; let's just say it was a process. It was when I began to realize that all that I have are gifts from God that I was able to have some compassion on people and to prevent myself from getting angry. Let me explain.

When I say 'all that I have', I mean that literally. I have been blessed in numerous ways: I have a husband who loves me; two kids who are relatively innocent and not jaded; a home of my own; food in my fridge; two cars; assorted animals; family and friends. I also have average intelligence (no comments) and my health. I have eyes that see - 20/20 vision in my mid-40's - ears that hear, legs that walk and hands that work. Which in turn gives me the ability to: feed myself, dress myself, wipe my own butt, decide what I want to do, and go just about anywhere when I want to...except maybe uphill; I do drive a 1969 VW after all. These are gifts from God. Some people are born without some of these gifts, some experience a tragedy that takes away these gifts, and some people squander these gifts. Whatever the case, they are gifts and they are things that should not be taken for granted.

My youngest son, for example, does not have the gift of sight, the ability to speak, or the ability to reason...he is legally blind, nonverbal and cognitively delayed. He needs help with eating, dressing, and yes, wiping his butt. He does have other gifts: hearing, a joyful laugh, a gentle (sometimes stubborn) spirit. When I realized that not everyone has average+ intelligence, not everyone has their health, not everyone was born into a loving family, not everyone has enough food/clothing/shelter, it gave me insight as to why people are the way they are. It's not meant to be an excuse, but it did teach me to have compassion and to use my gifts and blessings to help other people the way others have helped me.

The words "entitlement" and "entitled" are being tossed around in American politics more than ever. It is my opinion, that anything we take for granted is viewed as an entitlement. This includes what we consider "the basic things" like the gift of life. We think very highly of ourselves and our accomplishments and we often don't have any patience or compassion on those whom we deem fools. We also fail to acknowledge the blessings we have been given either from God or from others. We can talk all we want to about the grace of God, but we live and act in a very self-centered, works-based world. I firmly believe that in order to understand, to accept, and to give grace you have to have a grateful and humble heart. That begins with acknowledging that all you have is a gift, even those things that you seemingly worked for.

Lord, thank you for two legs that walk, two hands that work, two eyes that see, two ears that hear, and a spirit that longs for You.

"The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?" Exodus 4:11

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