A few posts ago, I decided that I was going to start a series of blogs where I would take a word and delve into its meaning to me. Today, I am talking about what I feel it means to be blessed.
A note before I get into this topic: I don’t think that we need to all think or believe the same things in order to understand or reflect on this topic. I believe blessings come in all different forms, whether you believe that they come from God, or another higher power, or that blessings are just blessings and there is no explanation, etc. In the mundane day-to-day, we seldom think about our blessings. We live in a world of greed: a world where a central part of our being is to consume, to buy, to think of things in terms of money and belongings. Social media has turned into glorifying our lives to show what we have. We are all victims of this. It doesn’t mean we are bad people, but it does mean we have some reflection to do.
Yesterday I was sitting on the ground in Penn Station eating a piece of buffalo chicken pizza (it was greasy and beautiful, by the way) and a homeless woman angrily approached my family and I, not making total sense and throwing curse words around in the midst of her message. But she noted that while we would get to go home and watch television she would be getting kicked out of Penn Station. At first I was really angry because I thought, who does she think she is coming up and scaring me, cursing me out while I’m just sitting here eating peacefully? Yet now I’m not so scared or angry, but I can’t stop thinking about the life this woman lives. She seemed to have a mental illness of some sort, probably struggling to feed and cloth herself. And here I was, wearing a puffy North Face jacket, jeans, and leather boots eating a slice of pizza. There was really no comparison. I felt intimidated in all honesty. I felt belittled. I felt greedy. I felt bad for laughing afterwards, when really the laughter was more of me trying to process that moment. Now, I don’t know this woman’s story. I don’t know how she became homeless. No, she didn’t have a right to come up to me as I was sitting there innocently, but I honestly cannot imagine being a homeless person in New York while people walk past you during their holiday shopping trip, without making eye contact or acknowledging you below them. For some reason, I always feel worse when homeless people are sitting, because I feel like I am looking down at them and not at them as people. Some will say that they put themselves in these positions, but that is a very bold generalization.
Back to blessings. I believe that life is a product of circumstance, where one thing happens that leads to another. Usually with purpose, but not always. I don’t like to say that everything happens for a reason, but things happen and then, as a result, there is something that happens as a product of that. I don’t know if I believe in luck. But that is another story. Sometimes the product of our circumstance is a blessing, or sometimes it is a curse. I do believe in existentialism: that we have a choice and we are sought out to discover our purpose, but it really isn’t always that easy. Again, we come back to circumstance. My circumstance is different than that woman who approached me. I am blessed that I was born into a successful, supportive and loving family that would never let me live on the streets (not saying that this woman does not have that, but clearly she has different circumstances than I). I was born into that, I did not choose it, that is a blessing. I embrace that and live that out, however. And because of my circumstances, I have different blessings than she does. Maybe she too, was born with a similar situation as myself, with a beautiful family and plenty of opportunity, but perhaps denied it as a result of her own choices. Maybe not. It is so easy to say that she can stand up, brush herself off, and go get a job. But in all honesty, not many people will hire someone with a background like hers. And as mentioned before, she most likely suffers with a mental illness, an addiction problem, or maybe both. That is another circumstance. I commend and respect the people who overcome their personal obstacles of circumstance (I always think about the movie Pursuit of Happyness) to become happy and successful, that is truly incredible.
I don’t think people should feel a sense of guilt or that people should drop everything. What I am saying, however, is that we all should have some insight on our personal circumstance, our personal blessings, and never take that for granted. We live in a crazy world where our whole life could be flipped around in a matter of seconds. So just know that, accept it, and embrace it in your everyday life. Mold your own definition of what it is to be blessed, and come back to it every once in awhile.
When Chance the Rapper says “It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap” what he means is that some things just simply happen, but that we should be grateful. We should always strive for our own definition of greatness. We should always recognize our blessings, and most of all, be humble.
Happy Holidays to all ❤