Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Thoughts on Blessings


This post was inspired by Paul, who made a very interesting observation about the difference between “having a sense of gratitude, especially for the simple things” and “blessings.” He made a reference to people in other countries, who are a lot less fortunate than us, and how can they be blessed when they are in a constant state of lack.

Here are my thoughts on “blessings”:

I tend to think that blessings are all relative. What it comes down to is that perhaps the people in third-world countries are not on the same mental realm as we are, and I certainly don't mean that in a cruel way--only a realistic one. Here in America, the land of plenty, we tend to equate “blessings” with “money”, or things that are purchased with money. In other words, the more money you have, the more “blessings” you have…or so it would seem. However, the people in third world countries who are starving every day probably feel "blessed" each minute that they remain alive. They feel "blessed" when they can eat twice in one day. They feel "blessed" when the CARE plane arrives with some much-needed supplies and medications for their children. They feel "blessed" that there are caring people in this world who will make time for them and try to help them.

Unfortunately, people here in America feel "lack" if they can't get to drive a Mercedes—that tends to be the attitude of an awful lot of people around where I live—but for that matter, there are people in every county in every state of the USA who are poor and starving, also, not just in third world countries. Most of these people have the ability to appreciate the little things that they are "blessed" with, like a roof over their heads, even if it's at the local shelter; or a hot meal, even if it’s at the local soup kitchen. In my profession, I see less fortunate people all the time. But when I delivered a Thanksgiving meal to a struggling grandmother and her two little grandchildren, the gratefulness I encountered was humbling! The little girls must have said thank-you at least ten times each, and they couldn’t have been more than four and six years old. It was a blessing from God for me to have the pleasure to meet such appreciative small children…they are truly being raised in the light of God’s Grace. And I imagine the small feast I brought was considered a blessing to them, as well.

I also see elderly people at the senior center we volunteer at who still “hoard” food, even though they are not for want at all. I would imagine some of them experienced the repercussions of living through or right after the Great Depression and were raised to be frugal, even if they came into money later in life. So even though they are “blessed” with money that could make their lives easier, they choose to live meagerly. That’s one of the reasons I personally don’t consider money the only “blessing” one can have. It obviously doesn’t make a difference to some people for many reasons. And when it comes right down to it, the most obvious difference between America and third world countries is that we have plenty of money, and they don't.



Let’s say I won the lottery right now, and came into several million dollars. Would this be a “blessing”? Well, to me, it would be a blessing to be able to pay off my bills. I could be a blessing to someone else by having the money to give to a family in need, or an organization with a good cause! But to me, that’s where the “blessing” ends. All the money would be good for after “fixing” my stressful problem is to basically purchase, in excess, many things that my family and I most likely do not need. That’s when the “blessing” becomes the “curse”, if you know what I mean.

I don't believe that God favors anyone. The world is the way it is, and it has been like this since the beginning of time. If there were no places on earth that were less fortunate than any others, and everyone had everything they ever wanted, we would be a very unappreciative planet indeed. And quite frankly, what would be the lesson? What would be the point of existence?

...Who really feels more "blessed"...the person who just got a meal for the first time in three days, or the person who just left the Mercedes dealership with a new car?



...Do people in poverty-stricken countries actually know what they don't have? Do they even care, or do they just want to make it through another day?


So “blessings” to me are the things in our lives that you just can’t put a price tag on. In my last post, I mentioned blue jays and dog smiles…and I can add to that list my husband's smiling face and the friend who takes time out of her busy day to pick up dishwashing detergent for me. Perhaps it’s the ability to appreciate these small things that’s the actual “blessing”—maybe a blessing is not a “thing” at all.


Perhaps a blessing is really just a moment of appreciation.


I believe that this life--our mere existence, whether "fortunate" or "unfortunate"--is but a drop in the bucket of an endless universal eternity. At the end of our earthly existence, it won't matter one bit what any one person had or didn't have. We may not enter into this life alone, but we certainly leave it with nothing but our souls. I believe that there is a God who will appreciate how much we appreciated what was truly important while we were here. And perhaps for that, He will “bless” us with the gift of eternal life.

32 comments:

Matty said...

Well said, Lisa..and its our responsibility to teach our children to look within for happiness...and to be grateful for what they do have.
Giving a Thanksgiving meal or Christmas meal to a poor family is much better than giving $20 bucks to an organization.

Loving Annie said...

Good Thursday morning to you, Lisa !

Left a special 'moment of appreciation' for you on the upper right hand corner of my blog today :)

Very good post, and nice distinction.

((hugs))
Loving Annie

Mark said...

Very good article. I agree in the end, we will not be measured in human ways. We will know a love, that we cannot even imagine.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Matty,

I agree with you. I was delivering the meals through my job (all of the "jobs" we take our individuals out on involve volunteering of some sort), but I'm seriously going to find somewhere to volunteer for Christmas. I can't think of a better way for me to celebrate it this year, with all the negative that's been going on in my life. I don't know if I'll ever forget the smiles and bright eyes of those little girls! It was a great feeling!

Take good care,
Lisa

Loving Annie said...

Good Friday morning to you, Lisa ! Just wanted to come by again and say 'hello'...
Are you okay ? you sounded a little down ?
((hugs))
Loving Annie

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Loving Annie and Mark,

Please forgive the dual reply, but I'm having so much trouble with my internet...I think I might have a virus! I tried to post to both of you this morning, and everything froze (actually, this just happened again, but now I'm on a different browser, so hopefully this posts)!

Anyway, thank you both for your thoughtful comments. Annie, I am fine...just back to work, and it's crazier than ever, so I'm a little worn out! Too much to do, too little time...but it's Friday, and I'm happy for that!!! Hope all is well by you!!

Mark, those are my thoughts exactly. We are but mere humans, and could never even begin to imagine what lies beyond for us (and that's hard to imagine, lol)!

Take good care,
Lisa

Mark,

Carine said...

Very good, too many people, not just the young, do not realize how fortunate they are-we who guide them, sometimes need to do a little push.

Guilty Secret said...

This was a really interesting post. You obviously thought very deeply about it before/as you wrote it and that shone through.

It was very thought-provoking too.

simply me said...

Well, I can definitely tell you that the people in the mountains of Peru, El Salvador and many countries, do not even know they are poor by our standards. Many indigenous people have never even seen a cell phone, let alone a bathroom.
Poverty is all relative to what one knows. Growing up, I was considered very poor by American standards but I did not know it because I did not know to want for the things others had because I did not know they existed.
There is amazing poverty across the globe, but the truth is that for some having one meal a day is being rich. Americans are spoiled - period. And often Ignorant.
Great Post.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Carine,

Yes, the young really don't know how good they have it. Sometimes they are too caught up in what everyone else has to really appreciate what's important in life. And no matter how hard we try to teach them, sometimes they don't learn the truth until they're older. But oh, it's such a happy day sometimes to be able to say, "I told you so!"

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Guilty,

I had been dallying with this topic on my Word program, but really created most of it while typing the blog. I'm glad you found it interesting! I enjoyed writing it!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Simply Me,

Well, I think you know how I feel about people in general, especially in this area! Not that I hate anybody, but it really does get annoying when people can't take a minute to count their blessings.

And I mean their REAL blessings, not the inanimate objects that have become so important to everyone in our culture. I've never seen a Chanel bag perform a random act of kindness.

xoxo

Betty said...

Thank you for your thoughtful post on the relativity of blessings. All I know about blessings is that my life is better when I am in "appreciation" mode. All of us are blessed, in various ways, and all of us are better off when we appreciate! Maybe that's why I've seen some poverty-stricken people appearing to be happier than some Mercedes drivers. There seems to be a correlation between appreciation of blessings and happiness!

Hugs,
Betty

Big Dave T said...

I used to lurk at a blog created by a medical student who volunteered to work in a clinic at one of the very poorest countries on the planet (think it was Ethiopia but the blog became dormant and I deleted the link).

He chronicled in detail the suffering of the people there, but it seemed that many of them accepted their lot in life stoically and in some cases with pride and honor. What surprised me was that some people from America went there to receive health care, because they could not receive adequate health care in this country with all the bureaucracy, insurance rules, etc. So you're right about things being relative.

annie said...

I agree that most blessings in this life have nothing to do with money or things, but I also believe that God favors those who seek Him. I feel blessed and highly favored by God and that doesn't mean monetarily, but He cares for my needs and arranges solutions in wonderful creative ways. I know the happiest we have been looking back have been the times when times were hardest and money was scarce. We leaned on God more and less on ourselves. Thank you for writing such a thought provoking thoughtful post and I hope you have a wonderful evening!
blessings,
Annie

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

Yes, I do agree...some people "get it", they really do. It's just not about the money, the things, etc. Although they are nice to have, they can not fill the empty place inside one's heart like true emotion...and appreciation.

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Big Dave,

It's too bad that site is no longer in existence, I would have loved to "lurk" there myself.

I think throughout history, less fortunate people have always shown strength that the more fortunate could not imagine. It really does go much deeper than we think, and it's a pretty amazing and powerful thing...more powerful than money, I would imagine.

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Annie,

As someone who has started to re-discover my Christianity, I do agree to some extent in what you're saying. I do think God lurks around waiting for us to lean on Him and talk to Him, and will always show up when we do. I have witnessed this myself, even as recently as today.

But I also believe that God created everyone and everything, even the pygmy who lives so far deep in the rain forest, he might never even hear the name Jesus mentioned before his life is over. I think that's what I have trouble with the most in life...understanding how God might not "favor" everyone He created.

These are some of the answers I'm looking for in my journey...and to me, they're not easy to answer! But I do think you are highly favored because your faith is so great, and your heart is pure. Anyone who has been through what you've been through and can still find the "positive" in life is favored indeed.

Take good care,
Lisa

Shimmerrings said...

Wonderful post, Lisa. Last year my boyfriend's mother did something different for Christmas. Instead of giving gifts, she made a donation in each of her children's names, to an organization that provided for the impoverished in other countries, and she sent her children a card telling them what the gift was, that her donation bought, and where it went. For instance, one of them went to buy a goat to provide milk for a family. I've been pondering doing something like that for my grandchildren. Well, I would give them a gift, but I thought it would be something good to teach them, by making a donation in each or their names. I think blessings could be defined differently by whomever is feeling blessed. Though I was thankful for the nice house we spent thanksgiving in, the true blessing was the beauty that surrounded me, the way the Creator painted the forest, the way the sun glinted off the water. And I don't believe that God favors anyone over the other. My brother, who is a minister, once said something like you... that he believed that even a native in a jungle, who may never have heard the word of God, would still go to heaven.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I think what your boyfriend's mother did is pretty amazing. Better still was probably the fact that her kids thought nothing less of her for doing that...I hope my kids get to a point of unselfishness one day. I would love to do something like that instead of buying one more gift that will be loved for a month, then tossed aside.

...Okay, well, they still love Guitar hero after two years (chuckle)...but you know what I mean.

I could tell from your post that you absolutely appreciated every second that you could soak up the beauty of your surroundings. My husband and I were just talking about appreciating the small things tonight...I love getting up early and seeing the sunrise, for instance. Even better is when the cardinal is outside my kitchen window (that faces east) looking for food in the bird feeder. I really do love seeing things like these. And I'm very grateful that God has given me that gift of thankfulness.

Take good care,
Lisa

Loving Annie said...

Good Saturday morning December 8th to you, Lisa ! How are you doing ?

Just wanted to stop by and say hello, and see what was new with you.

Happy Holidays to you and those you love --

Genuinely,
Loving Annie

Rock dweller said...

The world needs more people like you.

Kacey said...

I came by and started to read this post before, but was involved in packing and driving to Florida for the winter after the last surgery on 11/12. It sounded so good that I wanted to save this post for a time when I could really READ it and am so glad that I did. You are one of my blessings! I truly enjoy well thought out posts and lovely words. You do both so well. I agree with you that the blessing depends on the vantage point of the blessee. About God not blessing the pygmy deep in the rainforest --- that is why His great commission to His followers was, "Go ye, to the uttermost ends of the earth". Missionaries have been going and telling the world about Jesus for centuries, that they might have the blessings God offers. My youngest daughter and her hubby are going to Africa on a medical mission next summer. Blessings come in all shapes and types. My Stacey can help with all things medical, but will talk their ears off!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Loving Annie,

Thank you for stopping by! I was in PA this weekend with Simply Me. It was lovely.

I hope all is well with you, and I'll stop by your blog when I have more time!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Rock Dweller,

Thank you for the complement...what a nice thing to say. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Kacey,

And you are one of mine, as well as an inspiration.

What a great thing your daughter and her husband are doing...someday, I would love to do the same thing. I hope my kids will want to give back to the world someday, too...you must be very proud.

I hope you're feeling well, and I'm sure you're glad to be in Sunny Florida right about now!

Take good care,
Lisa

Loving Annie said...

Good Thursday morning the 13th to you, Lisa ! How are you ?

I tagged you for a '7 weird things about me' meme today :)

Loving Annie

LZ Blogger said...

You are right! That IS the GIFT! ~ jb///

Matty said...

Lisa,
Hope you are well. When we don't see you for awhile...we start worrying. Hope there are no health issues....we'll always have money issues. lol.
Take care,

Carine said...

Lisa, hope all is well and that the reason you're awol is b/c you and your family are having some much deserved family time! This is Sunday the 16th of December.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Blogging Friends,

I'm sorry I haven't been on the "blogging" scene, but things have been really crazy and busy over here. I will try to get a post up this week, and I'll also try to visit everyone else's blog, too! Sorry I've been MIA!!

Hope all is well with everyone!

Take good care and God bless,
Lisa

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