Monday, March 2, 2009

My "Those Less Fortunate" soapbox

Today during an announcement someone made a comment about "helping those who are less fortunate than us." Which immediately set my blood to boiling. I find comments such as these to be extremely rude and condescending.

By saying you are blessed or fortunate simply because your life is not XYZ you are also saying that my life is better than yours or that I am more blessed than you. Why? Because you are counting your blessings or fortunes in life by looking at what another lacks. With comments such as these you are inherently making a comparison and I would argue that we are not meant to compare our lives with each others. In an article about the recent plane crash in Buffalo, NY they were interviewing a few individuals who were meant to be on that flight but for one reason or another missed it. For good reason these individuals were shaken by how close they came to death. One of them made the comment, "God was watching over me." My immediate thought was, "What a harsh comment to those you just lost their loved ones. How many of them will wonder why wasn't God watching over us?"

In Christopher Reeves book "Still Me" he talks about a role he played in which he was a paraplegic. He describes how after he was done filming he came home and felt so blessed that he wasn't in a wheelchair, that that wasn't his life. After his accident he was reflecting on that experience and realized how arrogant he had been. I didn't understand what he meant at first but now I fully agree with him.

In my opinion God is watching over all of us and blesses all of us. In one way or another all of us are fortunate. I feel it is our obligation to recognize and acknowledge the blessings in our lives because we all have them. It is complete arrogance to say I am so blessed because that is not my life. We should never look at someone and say I am fortunate because I am not homeless like you. What we should do is recognize that everyone faces hardships in life and some peoples experiences can be completely unimaginable to us which may lead us to feel that we are blessed because that wasn't/isn't our experience. I would argue that those aren't blessings and it doesn't make anyone less fortunate than you it's simply a different road traveled. Yes, use other people life stories and experiences to gain gratitude and perspective on life. But never never say or feel that someone is less fortunate than you because they may very well be thinking that same thing about you.

3 comments:

Emily said...

i agree someone said something to that effect in church yesterday and i was peeved

Alysha said...

Well stated. We should be better about recognizing our blessings, without first comparing ourselves to someone else.

Betsy said...

I was really moved by your reflection in this post. I believe the same can be said for making comparisons of suffering and hardship--who has suffered more and is therefore more worthy of grieving or sorrow. This only leads people to pitying others and themselves and ultimately detracts from the process of healing and finding the faith and hope to move forward in life. We all need support and compassion from others at one point or another in our lives. Rather than looking for the person "less fortunate than ourselves" to help, we should always be looking around at all those around us for any opportunities to show our compassion in whatever way we can regardless of any measure of need. In the end, at any moment, it could be us that need that extra smile or helping hand in life to get back up and find our way.

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