Day 18

If you didn’t see yesterday’s devotional, check it out before you read this.  Otherwise I won’t make any sense.

Can life possibly be considered arbitrary and/or unfair if our primary needs are met?  Is everything beyond that just icing on the cake?  That’s the question we’re exploring.  Do we, as humans, truly have needs beyond food and shelter?  Do we have emotional needs or are these, in fact, just strikingly profound wants?  Other countries seem to think Americans are way too emotional.  Have we just let ourselves get out of control?

It’s too easy to take it that far, isn’t it?  It’s true that there are many in this world who will never have a clue what it feels like to be safe and secure.  They won’t know what it feels like to not worry about where the next meal comes from, let alone pick the particular type of meal they might have.  But does that mean that the problems we experience in our culture aren’t real?

I don’t think it can.  We see how real the suffering is that our friends and loved ones experience.  We can’t possibly say that it “doesn’t matter” simply because we get to eat while we suffer.  But, could that knowledge of how the rest of the world lives shape and influence our perspective on our lives?  Absolutely it can.

Sometimes, nothing puts our own suffering into perspective as quickly as someone else’s.  We need to live with the knowledge that not everyone has the life that we have the opportunity to live in our country.  We need to live with a certain underlying sense of gratitude for the things that we have that others don’t.  But, our life also brings a different set of problems other countries don’t have.  We don’t have to ignore those problems simply because others “have it worse” (not that it’s a competition) but, at the same time, we also shouldn’t live as if our problems are the only problems that exist in the world.

It’s complicated stuff.  How do we weigh those two things?  How do we hold in our hands, at the same time, the situation in our world at large as well as our own personal issues?

I’m not really sure.  It seems like it must be some kind of discipline or practice.

Is this something you’ve considered?  How do you try to strike this balance?

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