Friday, August 14, 2009

What does it mean to be deserving...?

Picture: cell-phone sunrise image while walking the dog

Self awareness is a very useful commodity. Especially the ability to stand outside of ourselves and observe. Sometimes it's a difficult process because self awareness tends to lead to self-evaluation and consequently having to confront the need for change.

So there I was, yesterday, basking in the enjoyment of some good stuff that's come along lately. I sat in one of the old rockers in the old dinning room - now the "tea room", sipping a cup of coffee and simply enjoying the moment...
  • I thought about the fact that both our children are happy, moving forward in their lives in all the right ways, self-sufficient and accomplished.
  • Then I considered my own situation. Rebekah and I are in a deeply satisfying place in our marriage; we both love our church family and we have so many amazing, faithful friends; we're both challenged and comfortable at the same time.
  • I reflected on how much I enjoy my work, the fact that my latest book has just been published and that it's getting some positive reviews.
  • And I thought about our beautiful home, everything we could ever desire and more, all the new work just completed and presenting like a series of photographs from a designer magazine; too amazing to have imagined just a few years ago...
Then Scout Labradoodle ambled over from her previous location, placed her face on my knee, sighed deeply, and flopped in a heap on the floor at my feet.

"Dang..." I thought. "It doesn't get any better than this."

So I was on the phone with one of my best friends a little later. "It's almost too much," I said. "I'm looking around and I think that what we have is just - I don't know - maybe too nice..."

"Not at all," he assured me. "You guys deserve it."

And there it was - BOOM! - out in the open. And I was so pleased to hear myself immediately counter the suggestion.

"No way," I said. "I'm Okay with enjoying it. But the moment I believe we deserve nice stuff then I've lost all perspective."

Now I'm not knocking my friend. I knew what he meant. He wasn't staking out a philosophical or a theological position, and I appreciated the love and the good wishes behind the statement. But I want to fight hard to remember and live on the correct side of the line on this one, and I'm thankful that he articulated what it is all too easy to think.

God has filled the Earth with good things. It's a wonderful experience to enjoy them from time to time. But all I actually deserve is the opportunity to live a full and challenging life. People deserve justice; they deserve opportunity; they deserve respect; they deserve a chance.

I have all those things and more simply by living in a free country.

Thanks for making me think - DEREK

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