Sunday, September 26, 2010

There but for the grace of God go I.

"There but for the grace of God go I"

What a sobering and humbling statement. I think that regardless of your belief system; agnostic, a believer in organised or disorganised religion, or if you are none of these and an atheist or defined by something other, either way I feel there is something in this saying for us all. Feel free to replace the word ‘God’ with what ever you feel most comfortable with. The whole point of this phrase is that, this could be us if circumstances were different. Who amongst us can hold this thought in mind whilst seeing a person in need or in crisis and not want to assist them in some way?
I have recently been fortunate to have worked with some amazing and lovely people at a drop in centre and have had many a humbling experience. I have had many people be accepting and supportive of me, when my role was to be there for them! I don’t mean that I have taken my issues to work to have clients assist me, but that when clients saw that I needed assistance or help in anyway, they were there asking what could they do to help me. I have seen people who had nothing but a few dollars to their name, give this to someone else they thought were in more need of it then they themselves were...and there I was a few feet away thinking if $100 cash would be enough to pay for the meal and drinks at some restaurant I was eating at that evening. This world of ours can be so focused on material and financial success, at the expense of all else. We are so focussed on ‘self’ rather than on ‘us’. I wonder if we are entering an age of focus on egotistical success, were we compete for the most number of ‘friends’ or followers on face book, or what ever social media we bare our souls on, because MY thoughts are important and everyone wants to know about them (the irony is in no way lost upon me). We become focussed on others listening to us, rather than engaging in mutual dialogue… but now I digress (and best explore this point of mutual dialogue another day). We are too often focussed on achieving our goal of ‘success’ what ever that means for us, that we often fail to see those that are in real need (where will I sleep tonight that is relatively safe- the doorway in the lane near the police station or in the shrubs at the park, where can I get a meal- not having any money nor eaten for a couple of days). In failing to see these people, we obviously then do not ask ourselves how we might be able to assist them.

Maybe we are not all cut out to work with our disadvantaged brothers and sisters. Maybe we are better placed to offer what ever support we can from a distance. Maybe our own situations are such that despite wanting to help we are unable to do so at this point in time. I am not here to point a finger of guilt at anyone. I am here to ask as all, including myself, to remember from time to time that phrase ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ and spare a moment for those who due to circumstance are currently placed where we may one day be.

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