My world monopolizes me. I forget, sometimes decisively, that there is a world beyond my own. Others’ pain and loss affect me so much that I don’t watch anything but soft core morning news. And having Sam and Lena has exponentially increased that intense emotional response. My happy, joyful, blessed world fits perfectly into the circle around which I’ve built it, in a foolish attempt to shield my loved ones and me from the destruction that lies just beyond its borders. My circle is safe. I like my circle.
But often I’m pulled outside my cozy little circle. I glimpse into other people’s circles, their worlds, and am reminded that there’s a lot of misery and violence and despair out there, oozing its way deep into any fissure it can seep. It drowns people in its vile, putrid decay. And it scares the living hell out of me.
At the same time that I pray, listen, donate, help - do what I can to prove that goodness and light live in the same world that darkness and depravity do and can overcome it - I want to hightail it back into my circle squeezing my eyes shut, plugging my ears, repeating Old MacDonald’s Farm in a toddler-like attempt to refute its existence. The fear being that its proximity to my mind, my family, my friends, my circle somehow welcomes it with open arms. Irrational, yes, but fear usually is.
My point? That hanging precariously between the reality of the world and the idealism of my circle is gratitude. Maybe because of what limited knowledge I have of mine and others’ pain and trials and missteps and despair, maybe because of the fear I have of drowning in the ooze, maybe because of my innumerable experiences with joy and love and opportunity and peace, most likely a combination of them all; I am extraordinarily thankful. For everything…
In the words of Jonny Lang, I’m thankful “for every single breath that I take…because any one of these so easily could have been me, and if it had not been for grace and mercy who knows where I’d be”. Preach on, brother Lang.