This past weekend I traveled all the way from Texas with three small boys who were eager to see their Grandma and Grandpa and are hoping with all their might to see snow while we visit in Missouri.
It’s Spring Break, and my oldest son, Aidan, is just beginning to pay closer attention to people around him and ask questions of me that I never quite seem to be prepared to answer. We had just such a moment yesterday.
While driving through Oklahoma we had to stop to get gas in a small pass-through kind of town. It had been steadily raining and the fog was thick. The temperature outside was a stark difference from the high 60’s we’d been enjoying the previous day in Texas. While I pumped gas, Aidan watched a homeless man ask me for some money to buy a cup of coffee. I gave him a few bills from my wallet and watched him go inside to make his purchase. After we filled our tank and took the necessary potty breaks, we pulled back out on the road to see that very same man walking away from the gas station toward a cardboard hut near the railroad tracks with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a breakfast burrito in the other.
Aidan asked me why the man was “camping” in the rain. I told Aidan that I didn’t think he was camping, but that he might live there. It was obvious that Aidan was confused. I explained that sometimes people don’t have all of the blessings that we have, and so they don’t always have warm homes and hot food. Aidan looked at me with all of the clarity a six-year-old can have about homelessness and hunger, and said, “Mommy, I could give him my chores money. He needs it more than I need a remote control helicopter.”
I told him that was a nice thing to be willing to do, but that when he got older he would see that there were a lot of people around the world that have so much less than we do. It was important to be willing to help, but it was just as important to be thankful. I could see that for the first time, my oldest son was beginning to understand reality.
Have you considered it lately?
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following. There would be:
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 would be Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white; 30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian; 30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual; 11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth, and ALL 6 would be from the United States!
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death;
1 would be near birth;
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education;
Only 1 would own a computer.
When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.
Monday Morning Perspective
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”
-Henri Frederic Amiel
So let’s consider the implications of reality…
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
As you read this and are reminded how life is in the rest of the world, remember just how blessed we really are!
Have a wonderfully blessed week!
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