Q: I have a problem with the notion of gratefulness: When I am grateful for the relative ease of the life I lead, it underscores the inequities throughout the world to an unbearable extent. How can I be happy or grateful for having been born here rather than in Haiti or Congo or Iraq or China? To be grateful for the good fortune of our lives intimates that “the other” is not as blessed. How am I better than they? I can’t make that judgment. About all I can do is observe and try where and whenever possible to help others. The trouble with gratitude is that one feels somehow that whatever is received was deserved. Why should I be more deserving than anyone else in the larger scheme of things? — A.L., USA
A: +Dear A., you wrote, “The trouble with gratitude is that one feels somehow that whatever is received was deserved. Why should I be more deserving than anyone else in the larger scheme of things?” You could of course go back to an experience of gratefulness and explore it still more deeply to discover that at its very core there is the feeling of utter undeservedness. Perhaps you’re familiar with the Gospel thought that God lets rain fall “on the just and the unjust alike” — whereby the just may very well be the others.
The richness of blessings you feel in your own life gives you an abundance out of which you can let healing flow towards the suffering which both you and i feel so keenly in our world right now. It makes me happy that we are connected through peacemaking efforts and the Gratefulness site.
— Your Brother David