Big fat snowflakes rush past my study window. The dogs are back inside, exhausted and wet from plowing the skim of snow already on the ground. My favorite kind of winter day, so beautiful and quiet outside, so warm and cozy inside. I’d be perfectly happy to stay home in my flannel pajamas taking commentary notes all day. But alas and just as joyfully, there are students to check on as they power through their final exams. I’ve oodles of editing to do on the choir cantata narration for this weekend and all those pages are at the church. Since we vote on the 2017 budget this weekend you’ll need your giving pledge cards on Sunday too. Meaning I need to find the original, white-out 2016, and type in 2017. After Global Women’s Gathering clean-up and a hospital visit I’m back home to my sheep pajamas, a fire in fireplace and supper ~ in that exact order. The most ordinary of days in a life richer than I would ever think to ask for.
But always, I find its edge as well: the sharp spot of knowing such wealth is so thinly spread across this world. Reports from Aleppo now include words like carnage and unaccompanied children trapped in a building under fire. “We can no longer give a body count anymore,” said a member of the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue organization. Yemen is on the brink of famine due to civil war and this fall South Sudan joined an exclusive club that includes only Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, by producing more than one million refugees. Places of daily, unimaginable horror as ordinary as the snow outside my window.
How shall I carry both without dismissing the truth of either? Am I allowed to enjoy this beauty while others suffer so? I think so. But only so long as I never imagine beauty as a blessing meant for me instead of them. The notion “I am blessed to have this life” makes me really itchy. I need another word and I think it might be privilege. I am privileged rings far truer to me than I am blessed. Privilege suggests responsibility I don’t hear in blessing. Blessing carries deservedness privilege cannot claim. Yes, it is a privilege to live in this particular house and neighborhood, this particular city, state and country. A privilege one ought not sit with lightly nor ever hoard to herself. A privilege with the spending power to change the lives of people living in the thin places of this world – if that is how I choose to live. I am grateful for the likes of you as we share the journey.