Day 302 of the Calendar Year

The phrase “hard times” reminds us of those days when things really were tough. They might have been when we had no money, no place to live, no one who cared about us, or when we faced all of the problems of the world alone. Studs Terkel interviewed hundreds of people for his book “Hard Times”, which told the story of the Great Depression through the words of the people who actually lived it. Many people still remember the Great Depression when unemployment rates soared to thirty percent and higher. It affected people not only in the US but in many other countries as well.

Ironically and tragically, some people today still live no better than many did in the Great Depression. The world is full of areas where poverty and unemployment are rife and where “hard times” are the norm. When we think of the hard times in our life, we appreciate more where we are now and what we have now. This is a good thing. However, how often do we think of the hard times in the lives of others? What does the phrase “hard times” mean to people who live where there is no medical care or where starvation and disease still kill thousands?

It is fashionable today to believe that: “They just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. If only they had our work ethic or were more like us, they could have what we have. They could live the good life.” This logic assumes that all things in the world are equal and that all circumstances are equal. It does not take much research or knowledge to realize that this is not true. People do not always bring their hard times on by ignorance or sloth. We cannot always control the world and events around us. Remember the quote by Rudyard Kipling “There but for the grace of God go I.” Jesus Christ said: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew, Chapter 5-7). He did not say “blessed are the hard-hearted, or blessed are those who pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or blessed are those who have the most.” Funny, how many of us can forget the help we needed or wanted when hard times were upon us. Can you find some way to share your good fortune today with others? What can you do today to take some hard times away from someone else? Be grateful for what you have today and see if you can share some of your good feelings and benefits with others.

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