What We Owe Others

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Another short thought as I continue my recharging myself. I am doing a lot of reading, doing some research for my Gettysburg and Civil War text, as well as preparing some new material for the Ethics elective that I teach, and those are all good things for me to be doing right now. As I do them I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be serving where I am, what I get to teach, write and study and to realize that even though I wanted the position, that someone had to select me for it, and get higher approval in order to do so. That I could not engineer. Neither could I engineer on my own going from the Army to the Navy when I had already spent almost a full career in the Army and Army Reserve, nor could I engineer my last minute selection for the Clinical Pastoral Education residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in 1994, or the times when people who believed in me, paid my seminary tuition when I saw no hope to continue. I can go on and on and on about such things. I look at the things that I have been able to do in life, the things that I have learned, and I am reminded that others helped get me here.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”

The fact is that I owe almost everything to people who have given me chances to succeed, and thankfully though many times have been difficult I did not give up. I was persistent but so much I what I can call “my” accomplishments, I owe in large part to others, and sometimes what seems like dumb luck or good fortune and just being at the right place at the right time.

So anyway, I hope that you have a great day, and please take the time to remember those who helped you.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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