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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