UnUngrateful Generation, And A New Evangelist
by Brenda Eckels Burrows, aMGC
(c) July 4, 2015
Daniel Amos, a young man from Australia, started a “public figure” page about himself in July 2013. A Christian who has not decided to name a particular path of Christianity He is following, somehow got involved in wanting to put out something different and more meaningful than his humor skits. At the time he was very interested in helping people who suffered with issues of self harm and suicide. He was quite frank that he “was not a Dr. Phil or a preacher”.
An evangelist was born, sending out a fairly consistent message that we have much in this life to notice, to live for, and to be grateful for – even as he laments how his generation seems to be so very far from such values.
May 14, 2015 he produced a 2minute video on that particular topic – How his generation seemed to be unusually ungrateful. It was a simple, powerful message that almost everyone has at least one thing to be grateful for, and that his generation in particular had in many cases become a group of “whining gimmie gimmie brats” (those are my words) instead of taking time to be more grateful for what they did have.
There was also an undercurrent that basing your personal happiness on that significant other, that motorcycle, that new job or new house – in short, that rampant consumerism, the turning climbing the corporate ladder into a religion, and the latching onto a single person as the only way to happiness were they most evil of the snares that could lead someone away from true happiness.
You can see this video at https://www.facebook.com/ItsDanielAmos/videos/1204682703062089/?fref=nf
Since it was posted on a Facebook group that is part of my online community TodaysCatholics.Com, my first thoughts were practical. I could see this as an excellent addition to a youth mass, CCD program, or other event directed at tweenies and teens, young adults.
However the lesson he is teaching is a valuable one for any age. Where, I asked in the group, in our Sunday (or other day) masses do we most have the opportunity to express how grateful we are to God, to those around us, to our environment, and to ourselves for being humble enough to realize that it isn’t all about us?
Personally, it hit me in a different sense.
I have been through, and in some respects am still going through one of the most challenging years to my body, mind, money, and soul since 2006. Between surviving the unexpected death of my cousin when she was 13 and I was 11, escaping a domestic violence filled marriage in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the loss of a beloved spouse to addiction and infidelity just months after celebrating the new millennium, to the devastation of learning that my already disabled body and mind now had to battle for survival against multiple sclerosis in 2006, I had always been able to rebuild, to start over, and to find many things to be grateful for.
I had found a religious vocation, a deeper faith. I had made new friends, developed a new family, and for someone who doubted very much she would live long enough to see her “forever” children have kids of their own, I had the supremely joyful experience of a daughter I loved and was very good friends with who blessed me with the two most beautiful grandchildren one could ever ask for. I got to be a bridesmaid at her wedding, and got to enjoy all the little things a mother loves when one of their kids wed. I launched and ran a non profit that helped people for several years. I discovered a passion for growing, especially roses of all kinds. I met and fell in love with a man who is to this day my best friend, and in my late age got to be a step-mom to a great kid, rounding out the forever’s, the ex-steps and the ex-fosters to make a nice final number of 15 kids who had graced my life.
Taking Franciscan values to heart, growing our own food, mending our clothing or shopping at thrift shops, and carefully budgeting, my love, my best friend and I enjoyed so many of the good things that came with living in a cabin with lake access, buying a used, relatively inexpensive Harley, and taking a once in a lifetime trip on it that will be a treasured memory for both of us the rest of our life. I had so much to be grateful for, and so often prayed and said so.
The attacks, the circumstantial bad luck things, the intentional abuse, harassment, stalking, threatening each hit with the ferocity of a tractor trailer smashing into our beloved Harley Davidson Roadking, Black Cherry.
The continuing stress from these events nearly destroyed so many of the relationships I held dear while it aggravated the physical problems I had.
I found out that it is more than a platitude: When disaster strikes, you find out who really is your family that will stand by you and support you, hold you up against the howling wind.
You really do find out which friends are true, and like the old Brownie Girl Scout song, they are more precious than gold or silver could ever be.
Even today, with a new career, the promise that two surgeries will once again allow me to get out of my wheelchair and sickbed more often, I battle so many different problems, grieve so many losses, and still have to hide much of my life for protection from those who, if they knew where I was, would stop at nothing to finish me off as permanently and finally as once was done by them to an innocent dog. Random bad luck things still happen, but now they happen to an older, sicker, and much more poor old lady who often needs propping up in the howling wind, only to turn around and find that no one is there.
It is very hard some days to feel any gratitude for what I have managed to hold on to – my faith, the true friends, my ability to write. It is easy to become consumed by the grief, the anger, the thirst for justice as a crime victim.
Daniel’s video was very much like having an IV bag of fluid that refilled my depleted body and helped heal my hurting heart. It was not a miracle cure that made everything ok. There are parts of the last 3 years that will never be ok. They will be survived, and like a soldier who saw too much battle, I will carry the scars forever. But the video did help to make me stop, and reflect that I am alive, and that is a sign God still has work for me to do. It made me think of the fact that God’s Amazing Grace would somehow allow me to do whatever it is he has planned for me, a subtle hint that perhaps yes, the surgeries will work. It refreshed my soul, and gave me the patience to deal with the little disasters, like the overdue phone call I was supposed to receive today, and the worry that it was overdue again because the caller is simply too ill to call – again.
For video e-medicine to the soul, It worked quite well. Thank you Daniel. I will be watching to see how you grow up, and what else you have to say in the future.