Blessed Beyond Measure…
In this journey of life there are many seminal moments when we know that “it was nothing but God’s mercy and grace that kept me…”
As I prepare to return to the house I co-own with my soon to be ex-wife, it is with joy and a sense of excitement that I make my re-entry. For the past 12 months, I have been a well cared for resident in the home of my sister and her husband. They have loved me, encouraged me, even chastised me where appropriate, all in the name of love. On numerous occasions I have had to stop and wonder where I might be and what I could be doing, if not for the generosity displayed by my family.
I have long felt a pang of sympathy with the men and women I see on the streets of our cities; living hand-to-mouth, having been reduced to beggars and dismissed as outcasts. We often take little time to consider what life circumstances have pushed them to this current place of destitution. The phrase we Christians use all too frequently, “there but for the grace of God go I”, has a whole new and personal meaning for me. I have replaced the sympathy with empathy…the look of disinterest to one of compassion.
The rebuilding of ones life is no small feat at any stage of life. It is certainly compounded when one is past the half-century mark and in the midst of an economic time that has rivaled the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Yet, I am so much wiser and better because of the time I have had to take an honest look at my thoughts, feelings and beliefs. All of that was made possible because of the loving environment in which I was immersed. Whether a kind word from my sister, a funny exchange between my brother-in-law or one of their grandchildren walking through the house looking for Uncle Mark…I have been shown true love given unconditionally.
This current resetting of the American and global economy has, I hope, given all of us reason to pause and consider what is truly important in our lives. It cannot be the vehicles we drive, the stuff we pack into our over-priced homes or the letters placed after our names or titles. It is really all about the love we share with each other. For as we have witnessed, the wealthy, many of whom obtained their riches dishonestly, being sentenced to prison, and the contraction of major employment sectors throughout the land, it comes back to the basics…God, family and country. In that order.
So, when you see that man or woman, boy or girl, on the street of your city, consider that their plight is likely one not of their own making. And that they may not have a loving and available support system to comfort, encourage and help them rise up once more. Say a prayer for them, ask them how they are doing…and listen to them for a few minutes. I guarantee that you will be the better for the exchange. And you will then be more inclined to not complain about those small inconveniences that daily present to us. Because, like never before, you can utter these words, when asked how you are doing, “I am truly blessed…”