I realized recently that one of the blessings and trials of living where we do is that I am constantly reminded of my wealth and privilege. To know that we are the only family on our block who owns our home and two cars is humbling. To have kids come to our three-bedroom, one bath home and talk about how big and beautiful it is reminds me of the true blessing it is that my children have such wonderful rooms to call their own. In an uncertain economy, I know that if things go south for us financially, we have family who can help us out, a safety net that most of my neighbors don’t have. I know that as a white man, I have access to people and opportunities that many around me simply don’t have. When I see the family situations around us, when I see the havoc wrought by children born to single moms too young to care for them, when I see the brokenness of unmarried couples trying to live out a commitment that they have never fully made, I realize how blessed I was to have the parents and family that I have. When I see the lonely, I appreciate the gift of wonderful friends.
Seeing these things are hard on my heart because the temptation is to feel guilt for all that I have been given. They are a trial because I can’t drive around the corner without seeing a household that is broken and in need of healing and no hope in sight. They are a trial because some days I just don't want to see anymore, but there isn’t a day that I can miss it because I know so many of the people and situations going on around me.
But these realizations are a blessing because it keeps my heart grounded and thankful. It reminds me of all I have been given and leads me to places of contentment that I could not reach living elsewhere. I am reminded that all that I have is a gift from God, nothing that I earned, and that makes me more and more likely to part with what is “mine.”