At the suggestion of a wise friend, I have tuned into the World Vision Lenten devotional program. http://www.worldvisionacts.org/?q=lent2011_relentless_acts_of_justice
The things I put down on paper yesterday seemed too good not to share.
Participants were asked to write down 30-40 things they are grateful for under one of the following categories: money, health, disease, faith, freedom, or education. Tough choice. We are all so blessed in so many of these areas. But I chose education, since I am fortunate enough to have 8 years of post grad papers and bills behind me. Plus, having been a teacher, it’s kind of part of my reason for existence. And it really was not difficult to think of forty things. That says a lot right there. It is truly amazing to really sit down and think about what we have that we might not if we had never been granted the chance to go to those schoolhouses kids complain about so often.
I’m not saying people without education cannot attain these things. Some have them in abundance. But I am saying that for me, and statistically in general, education creates or greatly enhances these abilities or opportunities. And I’m not saying, look at me and all these great accomplishments. Please. That’s why they’re blessings–we don’t earn them. So, here’s what I came up with.
- A career I love. Too few can say that.
- I know how to research whatever I want to know. Within reason, I suppose. I probably don’t know how to find out the temperature at the core of Pluto. But I don’t really want to know, do I?I know how to adapt to life’s curves. This comes from learning how to think through alternative solutions.
- I have a fairly good understanding of my gifts and abilities. And not-abilities. Good to know as well.
- I can read.
- I can write my name. And other stuff.
- I can learn from history’s mistakes, having sat through classes in, yes, even The History of Nuclear Power.
- I can better understand others’ point of view.
- I know basic math and cannot be cheated by people. Except maybe vacuum cleaner salesmen. No, I’m just too ornery to be cheated by them.
- I do not have to use a calculator for math, which is better than can be said for, say, my children, who are also supposedly educated.
- I can help my kids with homework.
- I can be an example to my kids for learning.
- I am more fortunate than 95 percent of the women in the world, as a guesstimate.
- I can encourage others through my writing.
- I have been given the courage to speak; thank you high school debate coach.
- I have the ability to think quickly; see above debate coach.
- I have the ability to reason through puzzles and complex ideas.
- I can make a living for myself. If I really have to.
- I can understand other languages. Sort of. Enough to have actual French and Spanish people smile benevolently at me and think, “Cute American. At least she’s trying.”
- I can understand other cultures.
- I have had the good fortune to travel.
- I can read my Bible. Which opens up so many more blessings I cannot being to list them here.
- I have a comfortable home and lots of things I want.
- I know how to drive safely, thanks to driver’s ed. Theoretically, at least.
- I have a greater appreciation for what goes into creating things, whether it be material things or ideas.
- I have a greater appreciation for the intricacy of creation. Thank you, baby bio, botany, and geology in college. And FYI, Baby Bio was the term for those of us who were decidedly not on the pre med track. It had nothing to do with infants.
- I have a better understanding of other people’s character through literature and history.
- I can not just read a book but enjoy one that I want to read.
- I am in touch with the great thinkers of the past. No, not in some weird, channeling sort of way.
- I have tools to reframe the future for myself, as it changes so quickly.
- I have the abilities and hope needed to carry out that reframing.
- I have an intellectual faith in my own belief system.
- I have connections with people from all over the world thanks to college and seminary friends.
- I have my spouse. Met in college. Perhaps he should have come farther up the list than #34.
- The ability to pay those school loans. Yes, it is a blessing to be able to write the check.
- The ability to critically analyze what the media feeds me so I’m not a blind follower
- The resources to help others
- I can give my girls the education they will need.
- I get to help kids on the Battle of the Books team, a great blessing I could not be part of if I could not read, right?
- I have clean water, food, shelter, and hope. And that right there should be enough. It’s more than most.
OK, go. What’s your list? Pick one of those topics today and think about it. I guarantee, you’ll be surprised to discover forty things aren’t so hard to come up with. Which only tells us how lucky we are.