I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail

Having time to spare, (well, I am retired!), I was scrolling through YouTtube when a lovely piece about soaring condors in the Andes came on, accompanied by a Simon and Garfunkel track. I was struck by the phrase, “I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail”.
It took be back many years to a time when I was teaching RE. There had been a class discussion of bullying looking at both the bully and the victim. I had put up several ‘thoughts’ on the display board which included one – ‘Sometimes you’re the pigeon and sometimes you’re the statue’. A school inspector (loud boos), not asking about the context of this, criticised me for its inappropriateness. Had he but asked I could have explained how it related to our topic.
As a teacher (and parent) the cry of ‘it isn’t fair’ is often the usual response to some perceived injustice being done to the poor little dear. In the political arena it can be our response to ‘them’ doing things to ‘us’.
Government and councils can seem remote, uncaring and unresponsive. Price rises and the increasing cost of living weigh down on those with limited incomes. Things we want are out of reach but we see others with wealth buying whatever they like. Is that fair?
How we respond to the ‘pigeon’ does not mean we have to feel like the ‘statue’.
Where there is injustice and genuine unfairness then, yes, we do need to challenge it. Even so, the individual, somehow, has to deal with these situations. Feeling you are the victim is not healthy. It can lead to depression or anger. Anger that can be vented on totally innocent folk – either those we meet or those out there who we don’t like, for whatever reason.
We may not be as wealthy, good-looking, healthy or intelligent as others. So what?
Looking at what we do have is a good starting point for feeling at peace with the world. Where it is possible, we can make changes, if we want to, at a pace we control. Where it is not possible, then shrug your shoulders and move on. Who knows, someone else may be looking at you with envy because their situation is even worse than yours. Perhaps supporting others in need may be one way to appreciate what you do have!
Whatever your situation, this is the time of year to be a bit more generous with your time and goodwill. It is a universal opportunity to be grateful for the gifts we receive and to consider sharing something we have with those even more unfortunate than us!
Christmas Season Blessings to all.

John Belfield

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