Submitted by Fr. Peter Ullrich, OSB, St. Paul Catholic Church, Tarkio
Once again I’d like to offer a brief story. (Many of you may have seen it or read it). It appeared first on Facebook from someone named Dan Asmussen. It has been printed, posted, and copied hundreds of times.
Through the eyes of a child
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, Dad.” “Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked. “Oh yeah,” said the son. “So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.
The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”
This is a story that can stir many thoughts and feelings in nearly everyone who reads or hears it. It’s a matter of perspective. A matter of outlook. How you look at the world and your own situation. What you have and what you don’t have. It could be an application of “making do with what you have,” or “be thankful for what we have.” All of that. But I think it pushes us to a broader view than that.
What might it say to us? The poor aren’t so bad off? I don’t think that’s the conclusion. Poverty is very real wherever it is. Those with more indeed are called to share with those who have less. We as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, must hear his words to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, basically, love each other and love the way Jesus himself loved.
This little story makes the point that we all have – we all have many things, many possessions, the support of family and friends, the basics for life – food, clothing, shelter, and the rights afforded us in this country. We need to appreciate the good we have. And we need to acknowledge that others have far less. And not be afraid to reach out to others – no matter how poor or rich they may be.