Friday, December 27, 2013

Feeling guity about being blessed

I let more water run until it was hot today than much of the world's people had water today.

I have three functioning indoor toilets when many in the world don't have any.

I waste enough food to feed several hungry families well.

I took my daughter to catch the train today and she is wondrous, shining, glorious--so good. And my son and his wife and three daughters are flying back from California on Saturday at a cost that would be the annual income of a significant majority of people in the developing world.

I've spent my life's work doing something I would have done for free it was so much fun.

And whenever I pee, I give a little prayer of thanks because the radiation I got after the removal of my prostate scarred my bladder and from time to time I pee blood and blood clots which are hell to clean up because they go off in odd directions.

I give thanks when my pee is clear--which it is 99.9% of the time. I give thanks all the time for having water and sewer pipes and food and two incredible children and a wife I couldn't have 'made up' any better than she is.

I have all the money I need and everything I want (except that Lexus 12 series) and, good health and a clear mind.

And all that makes me feel a little guilty.

My grandmother used to say, "be sure to count your blessings because they might run out...."

Folk wisdom at its best--but my blessings never seem to run out.

And I'm properly thankful for all that. Most of my prayers are prayers of thanksgiving.

So, why do I feel guilty about being so blessed?

Some accident of time and space and DNA and my own skills and gifts have made me a blessed man. And so, so many had less fortunate 'accidents'. 

Perhaps my guilt is a gift as well--one of the multitude of gifts I've been given (great friends, hard work, an above average intelligence, all that I need and all that I want, a wondrous family, a love of reading...God, the list is endless).

Perhaps my guilt at being so blessed keeps me human and humble and thankful. I did nothing to deserve how well my life turned out and yet turn out well it did.

Maybe it's a bit like 'survivor guilt'--when you walk off a crashed plane and most didn't--mine is 'blessed life guilt'. Don't get me wrong, the life I have is the life I love. But sometimes I don't feel like I deserve it.

Maybe that too is a gift. Maybe that keeps me humble and thankful and never able to believe for a moment that I deserve all this joy.

I'll ponder that for a while. (The pondering too, as always, will be a gift I rejoice in and scarcely deserve.)

Maybe it's just that around Christmas I'm a little embarrassed at how fortunate I am when others aren't. Maybe we all should, always but especially at this time of year, ponder how 'well off' we are compared to others....

I invite you to join me in that pondering as we approach a new year and new blessings....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.