Tuesday, February 3, 2009


There are countless unnamed people around me for whom I should be everlastingly grateful. Tradespeople who fix my home, police officers who enforce the law, computer programmers who avert viruses to my computer, farmers who work long hours to raise the items that I so easily pluck off the grocery shelves...

Taking things for granted has almost become an American way of life. Most of us have never stood for hours in a bread line, wondered if we would be arrested in the middle of the night, or had to walk any significant distance for work, shelter or food. For that matter, the vast majority of us assume our shelter will always be there, that our cars will start if we take care of them, and that the grocery stores will be stocked with more variety than we will ever be able to exhaust. We demand convenience. Because we pay people for services, we forget that tradespeople do things we would be lost without. But any job well done deserves a thank-you in addition to whatever recompense was agreed upon. If we do not season our lives with gratitude, our bland acceptance of the status quo will go into shock if the assumed is ever rescinded.

Picture grocery stores with empty shelves. Maybe this would never happen in America--but that does not lessen the wonder of our bountiful resources. We must see the wonder!

Visualize being turned away for treatment at a health facility. Of course our cavities will be filled. Naturally we will get our prescriptions attended to in fifteen minutes or less. It is inconceivable that the emergency room would turn us away.

Envision fear of arrest, imprisonment for arbitrary reasons, punishment in the future for things we freely practice lawfully today. This happens in other places--shall we not appreciate our freedoms until they are a fading dream? Consider overwhelming obstacles to receiving the basic transportation, employment, shelter, health care and food that we now assume we have a right to. Rights can be denied.

Most of us are soft. The easiest denials of convenience put us in despair. To go without is unheard of. To choose to go without for the sake of sacrifice is considered odd and pointless. Our way of life is vulnerable if we fail to see how free, how beautiful and how bountiful it is. We should not feel guilty for having so much--but gratitude for our good fortune, and humility that we should be so blessed.

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