Today we went to church, and all the ladies flipped over the new baby. They were also amazed that Emily would even come to church four days after having a baby, let alone stay for three hours. It’s days like today that remind me how much I have and remind me to be grateful for the richness in which I live. I take for granted that I can walk out of my front door every Sunday morning in a suit and not worry about getting killed because I profess to believe in Jesus Christ. I take for granted that I can always turn the key in my car and not worry about whether I am going to make it to church because of engine failure or lack of funds to buy fuel. I take for granted that I can drive on well-paved streets that are orderly and safe because of a well-trained, effective police force that silently, patiently watches over my town 24 hours a day. I take for granted that I can walk into a large, beautiful building built upon attractive, well-manicured grounds and participate in worship services freely and openly. I take for granted that I live in a time and place in which sanitation, hygiene, and health services are well-established and effective so that my children can grow up without sickness approaching death one or more times in their childhood. I take for granted that I have three large grocery stores and probably at least ten other stores that sell food, medicine, fuel, and supplies within a five-minute drive from my home. I take for granted that I can get on the internet and have the answer to any question I can possibly think of and many that I never would have thought of in just a few keystrokes—that I can communicate with my family 2500 miles away instantly and study about things that interest me. I take for granted hundreds of other blessings that I can’t even begin to count or understand every minute of every day.
If this sounds over the top to you, it is because you have chosen to remain isolated from the realities of life in the world outside your own town. People are outraged in America that they are possibly on the verge of becoming major stakeholders in a formerly privately owned corporation. How would we feel if our houses of worship were all state sponsored? How would we feel if our communications infrastructure were state-sponsored and censured? How would we feel if—God forbid—our 298 channels were taken away and all day every day our TV showed pictures of an insane dictator running around in a military uniform he didn’t earn? How would we feel if we grew up in a place where we felt we were unworthy to ask for a greater ration of water after having a baby? How do we look at far Eastern countries who have been so crippled by the artificial constructs of a socialist economy that they are now unable grasp the concept of freedom from government ownership? How would we feel if we didn’t have a public school system to complain about—one that produces high school graduates at dozens of times the rate achieved in third world countries? This is the reality of much of the world’s population. This is the mire in which our brothers and sisters live daily while we squander water, electricity, food, clothing, building materials, fuel, medicine, etc. at a rate that would boggle the minds of people who have never even seen more water than they could carry in a bucket.
I am grateful for all the little things in my life, because they are not little. The very poorest Americans are rich by world standards. I am grateful to live in America. I feel it my duty and my destiny to make America a better place—and make America make the world a better place—by not taking more than I need and passing on that which comes into my control to others who could benefit not by a hand out but by a hand up.