There but for the grace of God

When we complained as kids that life wasn’t fair, my grandmother would tell us that, “someone else has it worse.” When our son wanted the newest thing we couldn’t afford because we kept him in private school (“Everyone else has it!”), we’d tell him he already had more of his own than most kids in the world. My grandmother was right. Just like there’s always someone who’s smarter, taller, faster, prettier, there’s a virtually endless supply of people who have it worse, no matter how bad you have it.

A few years ago I finally started getting some personal examples of this truism, closer to home. The worst is the story of my friend Janet’s horseback riding accident, which left her unable to move below her shoulders. Imagine life with quadriplegia when you’ve spent 50 years being able to move at will – to reach for something, stand up, sit down, make every physical choice limited only by more standard limits, say, that arthritic knee. You’d like to think you’d make the best of it and carry on, but… even if you could muster the strength, the cost of the services and adaptive equipment that would make your life more tolerable are beyond most families’ finances – at least most families in the 99%.

There’s a benefit concert for my friend this Saturday night, to help Janet’s family pay for the technologies and extra support she needs. We’ll be there because we can, and thank God for it.

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