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Ungrateful Children

November 27, 2011


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[This is the meditation I used for the November 27, 2011 Service with the sermon Things You'll Never See. I mention the meditation in the sermon.]

Parents sometimes complain their children aren't grateful for what they have. Well, I say, why should they be any different from the rest of us?

I worked at the polls last election day, with 5 people from the church. We opened at 7 am and closed at 8 pm. We had just under 300 people vote in those 13 hours; I didn't see any of them fall to their knees and give thanks for the privilege. I wondered what a Libyan or a Syrian would think of their nonchalance.

I was in the Peace Corps. I knew people who had to send their eldest daughter to the river every morning to get drinking water. When she came back she had to chop firewood, build a fire and boil the water, so that they would not get cholera. There are farm workers in Tulare County, just three hours south of us, who can't drink their water. When was the last time you saw anyone who was grateful for clean, pure water at the turn of a tap?

I do genealogy; every once in a while I'll read about children who died when they dropped the kerosene lamp. Flames engulfed their clothes and the next week their parents had to buy a short white coffin. When was the last time you saw anyone who was grateful for light at the flick of a switch?

I'm one of the 40 people who help Bill, Aynslie and Adlai prepare dinner for the homeless. They have a warm place to sleep and something to eat at night, at least, six months out of the year. The rest of the time they make do as best they can. When was the last time you saw anyone who was grateful for a bed they could call their very own?

Be grateful for simple gifts, and don't complain about your children.

This is one of a series of homilies I wrote for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, in Modesto, California, from 2003 - 2014.

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