I read a quote that put into words something that I have always wondered.
Pope Francis spoke at a recent TED talk and said, “As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: ‘Why them and not me?'”
Pope Francis said it so succinctly, “Why them and not me?”
Years ago my sister and I were rollerblading around a park. At the far side of this very large park, the opposite end from where our family was, we came to a hill that led into a parking lot of sorts. I remember at the bottom of this slope there was a fence with brick or cement on the bottom and a type of railing on the upper half. Going down the hill on our rollerblades my sister tried to use this fence as a way to stop herself. If I recall it was my suggestion to do so. The wall definitely stopped her. She plowed into the fence scraping her knees on the brick bottom half and crashing into the railing with her face. It was quite the fumble. I remember the long, slow, limping walk around the park back to our family. We carried our rollerblades walking barefoot so my sister could use our socks to stop her bloody nose. She was hurt bad and I felt terrible. Why hadn’t I gone first? Why hadn’t I suggested another way? Why was I able to make a turn that kept me from crashing? Why her and not me?
For the past twelve years I have had the great opportunity to be a stay at home mom. When I got pregnant with our first baby I was working full time and I had been the primary bread winner. At the same time as my pregnancy my husband’s business took off, it just started booming. I was able to cut back to part time because I was so miserably sick. When our baby was born I used up my maternity leave and never went back. I had been given my greatest wish in life, to be a mother. And I have been able to do so without having to divide my time. Out of the seven girls in my family I am the only one who has consistently been able to stay at home with my kids. Why do my sisters have to leave their kids to go to work when I get to stay with mine. Why them and not me?
Pope Francis went on to say, “I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s ‘discarded’ people. And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: ‘Why them and not me?'”
I often wonder why my life is so good. Why I have so much. Why?
With so much chaos and sadness and misplacement around the world I cannot help but wonder “Why them and not me?”
In my searching and with my limited knowledge the only answer I can come up with is because “We are placed where we are so we can love and lift others.” (Carol F. McConki)
My brother’s favorite hymn was Because I Have Been Given Much. It says:
Because I have been given much I too must give Because of thy great bounty Lord. Each day I live. I shall divide (my) gifts from thee With every brother that see Who has the need of help from me
Because I have been sheltered, fed By thy good care I cannot see another’s lack and I not share. My glowing fire, my loaf of bread, my roof’s safe shelter overhead That he too may be comforted
Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord I’ll share thy love again. According to thy word. I shall give love to those in need I’ll show that love by word and deed. Thus shall my thanks be thanks in deed
Maybe it’s not me because I have a different challenge to face. Maybe my challenge is to lift up the hands that hang down. Maybe, just maybe I can be the hope of those who are sick, misplaced or in pain. Maybe I can be a friend to the lonely. Maybe I have been given so that I can give.
My hope and desire is to be kind, to lift, to love. I hate to see people hurting. I cry when others are sad. I have many many many faults. But I think I have one thing going for me. My desire to lift. That desire is just an itty bitty seed that definitely needs help growing but it’s there and I’ll start with what I have.
So, my friends, how can I help you? What can I do for you? How can I help lift? I am sincere in offering , please don’t hold back from asking.
I love you,