18 April 2011


I get the feeling sometimes that many people would be happier if they would just realize how many privileges they have in life.  It’s very easy for us to take things for granted and to feel a sense of entitlement rather than privilege, and that can change the way we see many things in our lives.  I feel that it’s a privilege to teach young people, and therefore when I go to work I don’t feel that it’s a burden, and I don’t have huge expectations of everyone else, the kinds that would come with a sense of entitlement.  I feel that it’s a privilege to be married to my wife, so I don’t take her for granted and have unrealistic expectations of her.  Her first husband is a mentally and emotionally abusive person who definitely didn’t recognize the privilege he had in being married to her, and he treated her very poorly for many years until she finally left him.  Now she hates him, and she’s a person who isn’t prone to hating people at all.

When we think about it, everything that we do is a privilege based on the happenstance of us being born where we were, when we were.  We could have been born into poor families in war zones, into areas full of disease and squalor, into situations that were more difficult and horrible than we even could imagine.  Many people are born into such situations, and we’re very fortunate–and privileged–to be where we are.  No, I don’t mean to say that most people’s lives are easy or without problems, but many of the mistakes that we make come about because we simply don’t recognize the privileges that we do have, either because we take them for granted or because we become so focused on our problems that we aren’t able to see the privileges.

Life itself is a privilege, full of opportunities to learn and to love and to smell the flowers and the fresh air and feel the sunshine on our skin.  We get to meet people and see new things and visit new places.  We have sunsets and sunrises and rainbows and cool breezes.  Life is a privilege that we all share, and if we can only recognize that privilege, then we can experience life as an amazing blessing, one that didn’t require us to do anything to deserve it, but that gives wonderful things to us all day, every day.

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege
it is to be alive - to breathe,
to think, to enjoy, to love.

Marcus Aurelius

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