Why am I living here, where I am? In America? In a well-heated, carpeted apartment? Why do I have enough food to eat? Why do I live where I can teach my own kids, and use the internet and books we’ve purchased or libraries provided for free? Why can I walk safely to stores, the mall, or use the bus without worry? I didn’t make any of this happen, I just took advantage of what others had created or set up. Why do I get to be married and have five kids? Why are we all healthy? Why do I get to have access to doctors, immunizations? Why did I get to have a college education? Why do I get to have such good relationships with my parents and siblings? Why do I get to sit here and type on a computer?
Sometimes I (/people generally) spend a lot of time asking why I don’t get certain privileges that others do get. But over the last few days, I almost feel a weight on me as I think of all I do get, but without deserving any of it. Sure, I maneuvered what was before me in a good way; I got good grades and went to college, for example. I was smart about dating and knew not to settle for an unhealthy relationship. Stuff like that. But all of that is predicated on so many blessings to start with. Some of those are spiritual blessings (good family, the gospel, the gift of the Holy Ghost), but some of them are just part of being born where I was born (school/college system, standard of living, grocery stores prices, etc.). Why do I get to live in the circumstances I do?
I don’t know — what I do know is that I can’t say it was because of something I did, here or before I was here. I just can’t. I completely believe that there are thousands or millions of righteous people who are living in conditions (housing, work, relationship, etc.) that are not very ideal at all. Their righteousness does not guarantee the sort of blessings I have received. So I can’t connect my blessings with my righteousness — or more accurately, I can’t connect my blessings with righteousness in a sort of one-to-one, automatic system. God very well may be giving me blessings because of faithfulness, but, I can’t reverse that and say that I have these because of my faithfulness. It’s still a complete gift. He could give me other gifts, but for some reason he chose to give me these.
In addition, as I ponder the blessings that come simply from where I was born — and so are available to everyone around me too, regardless of their relationship with God — I am coming to wonder if I shouldn’t, you know, feel guilty (or proud) about living in these circumstances while others don’t, but perhaps instead think that maybe God places people in all degrees of economic classes and in all countries who will (He hopes) be faithful and can influence those around them. If everyone who was faithful were rich, then they wouldn’t naturally interact with those who were middle class or poor, and they wouldn’t understand their perspectives well enough to teach them. If everyone who was faithful were poor, then the same would happen the other direction. If everyone who was faithful lived in one place, how could they teach or bless those in faraway places? By “faithful” I mean something like a good person who is blessing those around them, whether or not they are yet a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are spread throughout the globe, throughout different economic levels, throughout different races, throughout political parties, throughout warring countries, throughout educational levels, throughout family situations, and so on, because God needs good people in all of those places. He needs those who can “salt” people everywhere. And so, rather than constantly asking why I am where I am, and either feeling guilty that I have what others don’t, or proud that I earned this, or afraid that God will take it away if I don’t use it perfectly, and so on, I should probably rather just get to work where I am, and assume God cares more about getting His work done than about who has which house or which amount of money!
A helpful insight for me, anyway.