What Do You Take For Granted?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP
Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

Well, look around. What DO you take for granted?  I’m just back from a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica. It was a very eye opening, challenging and amazing experience.  Here are three things that I took for granted before going on this trip.

Sharp pencils.   In the Whitewing neighborhood, we volunteered at the summer school program of St. Pius Parish. I worked in the Learning Center where we did a math or English project each day.  We used pencils for our work but the pencils kept breaking.  Every time we would just get them sharp enough to use (with a small manual sharpener), they broke.  It was so frustrating!  I will never take a good sharpened pencil for granted again.  And one with a good eraser is definitely a blessing!

Clean streets and yards.  There is trash everywhere in Kingston – on the streets, in the yards, on the sidewalks and all around a community called Riverton, which is right in the middle of the city dump. In the midst of the community is a compound with a school, early childhood center, and a container classroom. More importantly, there are many beautiful children living amidst the trash.  The kids don’t seem to mind it, but I wonder how much healthier they would be living where there are clean streets and yards. It has made me think about the junk I use and discard without a thought.

Jesus in the bodies of the marginalized. We also visited several Mustard Seed communities.  The Mustard Seed Organization houses children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. At the King’s House, the director of the program, Donna, picked up the youngest member of that community, eleven month old Daniella with Down syndrome.  Daniella immediately reached out for me and I took her into my arms.  She snuggled onto my chest and into my arms and heart.  I knew that a special love was being given to me. I’ve struggled to see God in the face of others, but God was clearly in the broken bodies of these children.  I was holding God!

There are lots of other things that I realized that I take for granted when I returned to my comfortable home and my air conditioned car.  I hope you will take a minute to consider what you take for granted and appreciate it a little more.

Gracious God, you are present in the bodies of little children, the poor and the disabled. Help me to see you there and be grateful for all that I have. Amen.

Posted in Weekly Word

8 responses to “What Do You Take For Granted?

  1. Thanks Barb for the graphic reminder that it is so easy for me to take for granted the very things so many of my sisters and brothers can’t even imagine. Timely wake up call!

  2. A broken pencil –what a reminder of ALL we have!. Thanks
    I often think and pray for the poor Nigerian villagers –who only have river water unless some generous person has gifted them with their own hand-dug well with clean water.
    Fortunately I know of many who have given $1200 which makes it possible. Praise God!

  3. Your words help me to pay more attention to what I take for granted here in the first world, especially when I remember the struggles and courage of our Iraq and Syrian Dominican Sisters and God’s beloved poor I work with at the Food Bank. Thanks for the good reminder, Barb.

  4. A good reflection for all of us – too often life becomes routine and we take “gifts” as if we have a right to them, rather than seeing them as blessings.

  5. Thanks, Barb, for this timely reminder of how much I /we take for granted! We are truly blessed! (And it reminds me to look for ways to “reduce /reuse /recycle” instead of tossing into trash.) May God bless all those dear “little ones”!


  6. Thank you, Barbara for reminding us/me of how much we do take for granted. Keeping a daily gratitude journal reminds me of all the gifts received from our gracious God.

    Blessings for your presence in Jamica.

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