God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Touch of Green

Kenya--Iraq--West Bank--Sudan--Somalia--Myanmar-- Pakistan--New Orleans

I think of these places and their sad cousins and become aware of how shallow my little moans and groans and complaints are--the petty grumblings of someone who has been given (surely not earned) an incredibly disproportionate share of food, wealth and unnecessary things.

I don't understand the vagaries of fate or the designs of God which result in such unfathomable disparity. Mostly I don't understand why I am one of the fortunate ones who luxuriate in deciding among hotels and destinations of pleasure, who struggle with the questions of what make and model vehicle to buy, whether to have fish or meat or chicken for dinner, who sit in homes with two televisions, 3 phones, pools infrequently used and more, more and more. Why? The word "fair" doesn't seem to have a basis for definition when faced with the bitter unfairness in life.

What great event has prompted me to dwell on these thoughts at this moment? Well...it is not a great event or even one of any magnitude at all. It came when I titled this blog entry and, thinking about the topic I had in mind, realized how, for wont of better words, sad and insipid my thoughts were.

A Touch of Green referred to envy, my envy, of friends of ours--Ken's and mine. Friends who have the freedom to travel at will--who have the whole world from which to choose their next destination--choices that can be made by the seasons, either here or there. Right now we have dear friends spending 2 months in Brazil, next week other friends are going to Spain and on and on.

So, I began to feel so sorry for myself--that in retirement our travels are limited by the school calendar just as they were 30 years ago. How lucky are our friends who can go as they wish! How deprived Ken and I are.

What foolishness! Our lives are rich beyond measure. What we need do is commit to ways to enrich other lives with food, warmth, medicine, compassion--finding ways is not difficult, commitment is the test. We need to encourage Casey, our greatest gift, to know a responsibility to the world around him. To care less about his toys, his Nintendo DS, his DVD's and care more for the satisfaction he has already discovered in giving to Samaritan's Purse and occasionally helping Ken in the homeless program with which he is involved. The greatest satisfaction our lives can bring will not be wrapped up in things or places or pleasure experiences but hopefully will be in the path Casey chooses for his life--a life that will make a difference in this world.

The truth of this blog is that I never know where an entry will lead once started. A word used, a thought expressed and at the end I am surprised by where I am. This time is a vivid example of the way words form their own paths-- as if there is a conspiracy between the keyboard, the fingers and the screen. And now I am led again to an examination of my values and what is important and where God wants to lead me.


Chiocciola said...

As always, a wonderful and thought provoking post, Jane!

Jane said...

Thanks, Erin. I kind of wondered how this post would go over...but it's my blog--right?

Gail's Great Escapes said...

Jane, you know I understand. Our lives take directions we never dreamed of. I think it's okay to think about what might have been....to be melancholy at times, and to know that we all have our bittersweet moments.

Then the fog drifts on, and we see we are where we were meant to be.

Jane said...

Gail, you are a poet and lift my spirits. Thanks! Yes, I know we are at the right place and, in truth, I like it here.

Janice said...

I've just overcome a touch of green too, Jane. I hope you will take some comfort in knowing that others understand all too well. A friend of mine just inherited a large sum of money and I was bright green for a day or two, which made me feel very ashamed.

Life is sometimes trying and often requires us to make sacrifices and difficult choices. It's normal to assume that wealth allows others freedom from the stress of daily life. Thank you for reminding us that we must take the time every day to be thankful for our many blessings.

Jane said...

Janice, thanks for the affirmation and for sharing you. Yes, we do need to more often stop and appreciate what life gives us--which for many of us is more than sufficient.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane.
I like to read posts where words gently tumble out. Thanks for the honesty.

Jane said...

Maryann, your words "gently tumble" too. Thanks for writing them.