In the whole world, I and my family, are well within the top 1% in terms of money and our hope of “making it” financially. We have more than enough food and we have a house and clothing and the chance for a financed retirement. Most of the world, even in the United States, has no hope for retirement, much less a love for the J.O.B. that finances today. (Maybe there is no mistake that in the Bible that Job and his story of misery and faith is named job.) I have stable and satisfying work, and not just a job. I worked hard to have that and I am lucky to have that combination–or I am blessed or I am rewarded–no matter what I am in a place of having when many are in a place of not havnig. As I am looking to the new year I am focusing on the word gratitude. 1%? Is that an accident? Is that providence? Is that a cycle? That seems to have less to do with me than forces outside me. I…

I know that I am a soul moving through this earth with an amazing opportunity to be in a functional body and I hope to learn and love and relish this experience in a body. I have to feed this body almost endlessly. There is a part of my brain that continues to make up stories to make food interesting every three hours while I am awake. That is ridiculously amazing. Nothing, and I mean, nothing, becomes interesting again every three hours except food and water. There are not enough super models in the world to incite a three hour turn around in curiosity, but a tomato sauce at lunch followed by beet salad at dinner? I am up for that. How does my brain create this interest in food? That alone is miraculous.

I am sure that if I were really hungry I would understand much more clearly about my interest in food and my ability to get turned on by it. For some reason, at least now, I am not hungry, ever. Maybe, like Job, all this will wilt away and I will lose everything and grow boils, and then what? Will I still be grateful? Am I grateful for the bounty or can I know that I am sustained no matter what, even if I were to really get hungry? Someone I love is without heat every day right now and he has no recourse. He is just cold at night. It makes every day different to know that tonight will be unrestful. I don’t have that.

I don’t know how it all works. I am, as I said, a soul moving in and amongst this body and I am wanting to enjoy that truly. At the same time I see pain around me. I won’t abandon my plenty on behalf of someone else’s pain, but does that make my enjoyment of my ride through life, in some way, less? Guilt serves no growing purpose, so I am not looking for more of that. That leaves me with gratitude for the wonder of the life I have, for the eggplant on a Tuesday, for my wife’s hands who prepare it, for my working hands that pay for it, for the sun and the rain. It leaves me grateful for the heater that kicks on at night when the temperature falls to anywhere below ideal.

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4 Responses to Bounty

  1. Stephen says:

    I appreciate your thoughts and photography…and your willingness to share them with us. Thank you Stephen!

  2. Nicole says:

    Well said. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 🙂

  3. Tray Pruet says:

    First of all, I hate when people quote me to me, good or bad. But I have a question about this….”someone I love is without heat every day right now and he has no recourse…….I won’t aban­don my plenty on behalf of some­one else’s pain, but does that make my enjoy­ment of my ride through life, in some way, less?”
    I’m assuming these are connected. If so, why wouldn’t you abandon a very small portion of your plenty to abate someone you love’s discomfort?
    I really believe the bible you quoted when God told Abraham, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”
    What would be God’s response if Abraham had withheld the blessing?
    I get all gushy at the Pay it Forward videos. It feels good to bless those we love and those we don’t even know. What is so great about millions when there are those we love suffering? No, not trying to guilt. Just really pondering cuz I don’t have millions.
    Even King Solomon realized this life, it’s riches and it’s trappings were all shit. This was the confession of a man who had amassed the world’s largest steaming pile.

    • Great questions Tray. I thought long and hard about how I wrote that. Yes, I would part with a significant portion of what I have but I can’t say I would let it all go to even the playing field. I never have anyway, but I do give. This particular person I am thinking of is sitting in a prison in winter without heat. I pretty much can’t do enough even though I have done what is possible–sent commissary money etc. but I guess the question I raise is this: If I could impose Job’s suffering on myself for the sake of the needy, would I? So far, I have not so I think I would not, but who knows. Do I have to become needy in order to have done enough? Makes no sense to do that from a practical standpoint. Do I wait on God proving a point to Satan, as with Job? I hope I am not part of that moral tale. I am no Job. The poor will always be with us…feels a bit hollow and possibly I am taking that out of context, but also, it is seriously true. I don’t believe that living in guilt for living in bounty makes sense. What creator would be interested in us living that way? We move in our lives in these questions and their answers and I think the important thing is to keep moving and being the answer for every someone who I can help.

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