maintaining perspective

I’ve written before about Margaret, who writes the marvelous blog Leave it Lay where Jesus Flang it. She is an Episcopal priest in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Reservation. She writes about the challenges of her work, and they are many.

She serves nine active congregations. Nine. She deals with all of those issues you would expect on a reservation: alcoholism, drug abuse, poverty, crime and on. There were twenty-six funerals on her watch through June. Twenty-six. That’s one a week. One of the funerals was for an eighteen month old girl. For which the authorities would not let her mother out of jail to attend.

That’s the world that Margaret lives in.

In my blog reading, which I do using my RSS news reader, Leave It Lay is followed by Penny’s blog. She is an Episcopal priest on the East Coast serving a generally upper middle class congregation, or so it appears to me. The issues she deals with seem so trivial and inane by comparison with what Margaret faces.

But I have to stop myself when I have those thoughts. Because if Penny’s issues are trivial and inane, then so are mine.

latteOn West Coast Live a couple of weeks ago, the host, Sedge Thomson, interviewed Marianne Elliott, author of Zen Under Fire, which is her account of her time as an aid worker in Afghanistan. Sedge quoted an Afghani who said that it was not wrong that we had our quiet lives, our cafés, and our lattes. What was wrong was that those in Afghanistan didn’t have them.

A point worth reflecting on. Perhaps a reminder not to be too hard on ourselves in appreciating what we have. Especially if we choose to use some of that abundance to help those who have less.

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