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“There, but for the grace of God, go I”
-John Bradford, English reformer
One gray, windy, and rainy day in Portland on my way to the office, I was stopped for a red light and noticed a woman on the sidewalk. Her face was old and red and she wore a tattered rain slicker. She was sitting on a small piece of luggage and eating green grapes out of a plastic bag. An aged man was standing a little closer to the curb holding a sign that read, We’re hungry! Please help!
How many of you have seen something similar? No matter what your thoughts may be, try not to judge them. Just notice them and be aware that their life is hard. It is one that we truly can’t understand.
I first heard the quote for this month’s newsletter many years ago. It impacted me in a significant way. Soon after hearing the quote, I happened to be at a playground with my son Seb, who at the time, was only about 2 years old. I saw a young woman pushing a child on a swing. She had a cigarette in her mouth and a beer in her hand. Looking at her face and her hair, she looked familiar, a little like I used to.
As I reminisced about my young adulthood and the recklessness I had exhibited, the quote “There, but for the Grace…,” came back to mind. The message – Do not judge- became clear because that woman could easily have been me.
How many of us have made choices that could have sent us in a downward spiral? Some of us have been through that experience and thankfully recovered.
Thanksgiving consists of two words: One is “Thanks!”, and the other is “Giving!” Maybe this year, if we are able to have an appreciation for all we have, we can also shift our minds slightly and think of the following phrase: “While I give thanks for having so much, I can perhaps give something to someone who might have much less”.