Monday, May 23, 2011

There But For The Grace Of God

As a mom to two children, there are a lot of things I take for granted.

I take for granted that when we need a doctor or a hospital, there will be one available - and we can get there within minutes.

I take for granted that I can go to a grocery store at just about any hour of the day or night and can get whatever food and however much food I wish.

I take for granted that the wee ones will have school tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

I take for granted that when there is a need to use a rest room, no matter where we are, we can easily find a relatively clean one available for us.

I take for granted that as summer slowly grows upon us, the air conditioning in my house will keep us cool during the day and our ceiling fans will prevent us from sweltering at night.

I take for granted that when I open the door to my garage, my car will be there waiting for me to simply put a key in it to go - fully gassed up and in repair.

I take for granted so many things that make my life smooth and easy and spoiled. It isn't just for me but for the wee ones, too. I take for granted all the opportunities they have not just today but in the future - and I see nothing but happiness and hope for them as they grow up.

And I know how lucky I am to do so. I know there are so many other options that could be there for us - there but for the grace of God. I have friends who are losing their homes. I have friends who are being diagnosed with horrible illnesses. I have friends whose spouses are doing unspeakable things to them and their children. And then there are the lives I hear about - the wars and famine and pestilence and fear and worse - that are so far from me but yet touch my heart.

And for a moment, I don't take it for granted. For a moment, I am profoundly grateful once again to have everything I do. I am so very grateful for the opportunities and for the plenty that I have, knowing it could so easily be wiped away. I look at the devastation right now of Joplin, Mississippi, and I shiver, knowing the hair standing up on my arms last night as I looked out at the storms approaching my house was nothing compared to what the survivors there feel now.

And truly... there but for the grace of God go I.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of the book Tiny Sunbirds by Christie Watson as part of the From Left To Write book club. We don't do traditional reviews but instead write posts inspired by the book. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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Headless Mom May 24, 2011 at 12:39 AM  

Lovely post Michelle. I totally agree.

Michelle May 24, 2011 at 9:42 AM  

Headless Mom - Awww, thanks! You're so sweet. And listening to the radio again, I know I'm already taking things for granted!

Christie May 24, 2011 at 4:06 PM  

Thank you for posting. I agree - we all take so much for granted. But sometimes something comes along to make us realise how lucky we are - usually for me it's the small things: my children playing together, a song I love, writing I admire. It's so easy to get caught up in life and miss these moments - but like you - I try and hold onto them. Writing Tiny Sunbirds allowed me to take a long time to think about the important things. Thank you so much for reading Tiny Sunbirds!

Emily May 24, 2011 at 8:20 PM  

Wonderful post! You sound like you have a good grip on your life's blessings, and that you take more time than most to stop and think about the blind luck that you were born in America!

I, like some you know, am chronically ill and live under the poverty line. I am grateful for the things I do have, such as this iPhone. Being poor in America is a completely different animal than being poor in a third-world country.

I always try to remember, there is always someone better off than me and someone worse off than me.

Pat May 26, 2011 at 10:27 AM  

You are so right! I tend to take good things for granted in my life, too, until I hear of hardship, trials and devastation in other peoples' lives. I can't imagine having all my earthly belongings wiped out in a matter of minutes. You have written a beautiful, wise, insightful post here, Michelle. When disasters like this occur, it reminds me not to hold on too tightly to worldly possessions.

Michelle May 26, 2011 at 10:11 PM  

Christie - Thanks. I am so amazed by the book you put together and have so many questions for you about it. I kept reading and reading and over and over again was reminded of how privileged I am. Wonderful book!

Emily - I try, but wow is it easy to forget and to complain about things. Like today's 47 degree high. Because I don't have a warm safe house to go into and more. Eesh.

Pat - And there are people whose lives have been nothing like ours in any sense ever and yet somehow manage to live happy lives anyway.

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