Gratitude or pride?

At fifty-one years old, I own three businesses, have written three books, played in an award-winning country band, and am blessed with having more “enough-ness” than any man could ask for. Rewind fifteen short years ago, and I was down and out. “Scarce-ness” was the watchword of the year. My wife asked me once, “Don’t you feel proud of all you’ve accomplished, considering where you were back then?” I didn’t really know how I felt until she asked me. But I do now…. I can honestly say that I don’t feel as much pride in those accomplishments as I do gratitude. Why? Well it’s certainly not because I’m some morally superior, worldly-wise specimen of humility. It’s just that I’ve been lucky enough to see the truth: That people much smarter, capable and skilled than I have ended up far worse. There is undoubtedly a connection between where one ends up in life and one’s skill, education, and perseverance. But I know that just as often the difference comes down to one or two little choices we make; a little bit of “being in the right place at the right time,” or what appears to be divine intervention that spells the difference between fame and obscurity, skid row and middle class—even life or death.

So in my less enlightened moments, I might engage in a bit of “back patting,” being only human after all. “Look at me! Look at how far I’ve come!” But on most days, at any given moment, you’re likely to find me thinking how grateful I am, how I couldn’t have asked for more and that I certainly have more than I deserve, if there’s really any such thing as “deserving.” Gratitude is pretty cool. It beats pride any old day. In fact, pride is number one on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins! Here is how one website defines it:

Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.

If that doesn’t say it all…

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