Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Gratitude: For When Life Isn't Fair (which is most of the time)
...sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. (From Ecclesiastes 2:12)
Last summer, inspired by an idea I found on Pinterest, I started making yard ornaments out of old dishes and glassware pieces. My yard is right next to a busy pedestrian sidewalk, and before long someone stole my favorite one. So unfair! Stealing an idea is one thing, but trespassing on my yard and swiping my unique piece of folk art burned me up! At first I couldn't even bring myself to take refuge in my usual comforting thought--that the person who stole needed it more than I do. But upon further reflection I decided that maybe they needed that little bit of beauty in their lives more than I needed it.
The book of Ecclesiastes is the most cynical book in the Bible. Koheleth, the author, points out that you don't always get to enjoy the fruits of your own labor. This is an important lesson. Life isn't fair, and if we teach our children that it is always fair, and we link that to our Christian faith, they will become cynical in the same way Koheleth is cynical.
While life is not fair, that doesn't always work to our disadvantage. If we learn to count our blessings instead of nursing our grudges, we experience life as a blessing.