This quote reminds me of my family -- how relatives would show up with a friend at a holiday dinner or a camp out and that friend would be welcomed and embraced as part of the family. If gifts were exchanged, there would magically be one for the visitor. If food was shared, there was always plenty. We loved to pass around a box of chocolates. Nobody cared who bought them or who got more than someone else. The passing and the sharing was better than the eating!
I always wondered why in this big world of endless possibilities, I was born with so much -- don't get me wrong, we weren't well off by 20th century American standards. But my basic needs were always met, and I always felt blessed.
I felt blessed because I am. Even in my poorest days, I am among the top 5% in the world in wealth, education, freedom, and opportunity. I have a home, a comfortable bed, food on the table, health insurance. What did I ever do to deserve all that?
The answer is, nothing. My comfortable life is a gift of chance. And I'm constantly reminded that millions live every day without that chance.
How can someone who will never learn to read, and will never experience clean water, be denied access to God's love because they never heard of Jesus?
How can someone who devotes his life and his heart to one loving partner, for better or worse, not be equal in the eyes of God because that loved one is the same gender?
How can someone who never had access to education be denied medical care because they are unable to find a job with benefits?
I can't, for the life of me, imagine that God sees any disadvantaged or marginalized member of our society as any less valuable, just because society chose to shun them. On the contrary, I believe that God, in his/her vast wisdom, will someday, somehow, find a way to reward those who suffered in this life, because they served a divine purpose -- they gave those of us not born into hardship the opportunity to see it. They give us the chance to care, to get perspective on our undeserved assets, to treat them as gifts and open the box and pass them around. Here, have a chocolate! Or a blanket, or a meal or a hug or an eye-to-eye conversation because you're a valid human, as much a treasure in this world as one who has access to a bath or a dentist.
We are all the same. We start out the same and end up the same. The only difference is random circumstance, and the greatest blessing those of us with plenty have been given is the opportunity to share. I am so very blessed!
Please take a moment, look around you, and think about the blessings in your life. Think about the people who will never know the pleasure of your comfy sofa or favorite book or seeing the trees and sky of the Pacific Northwest, who will never taste a fresh-picked tomato, who will never own socks. Think about those who are denied the right to marry their partner, denied a chance to learn to read, denied, denied, denied because someone thinks their skin color matters.
Please take a moment to pray for someone near you in need, and please think about a way, large or small, that you might be able to share your gifts. Pass around the box of chocolates. Pass around the extra blankets. Pass around your smile and a nod. God is shining through you!
May you feel God's blessings today and always, and find a way to share them.