To all the “bootstraps,” “self-made men,” and “self-sufficient souls”:
Congratulations on your success! I applaud your hard work and industrious spirit. You should be very proud. Not everyone possesses your intellectual prowess, your physical health, or your emotional and mental stability. So be proud that you are better than those of us who are so weak and dependent. Be proud that someone loved and cared enough to teach you early on to work hard, study hard, and make the most of your innate talents and abilities. Be proud that you are better than those lazy miscreants who were born into less nurturing environments. Be proud that you have never had to ask for a handout, because you always had the abundant support of invisible arms that enabled you to endure and achieve. Be proud that you need neither the government nor God; for you are blessed not to be crippled, and therefore you have the luxury of scoffing at such crutches. Be proud that you don’t have to deal with those irritating pangs of conscience that prick the rest of us when we pass by the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute; for you know that it’s their own damn fault. If they had simply been as well-born, well-nurtured, and well supported as you had, then they wouldn’t be out on the street hassling you.
So be proud of your self-sufficiency. Be proud that you did it all by yourself. I am truly amazed at your accomplishments; because as for myself, I am desperately dependent upon others.
I am dependent upon those who pick up my garbage; those who keep water flowing to my house; those who supply food to my local grocery store; those who make the clothes that I wear; those who grow the coffee that I drink; those who teach my children Sunday School; those who conduct the Divine Liturgy; those who worship with me and pray for me; those who love me, listen to me, and befriend me; those who give of their time, their love, and their money so that I can not only live but also live a life that’s worth living. Indeed, I am desperately dependent upon my God and my world.
I confess that I am no “self-made man,” no “self-sufficient soul”. No, not this sinner. I cannot boast of such a thing. I am far too reliant upon my family, my friends, and my Lord. There is nothing that I could do by myself, on my own- other than sin.
I remember the time I put on a pair of boots and tried with all my might to pull myself up by the straps. I promise you – and you may not believe this – but it’s impossible! Really! I mean, I tried and tried, but I could not do it! But then again, that was only my own personal experience. Apparently there are people who do it all the time. They tell me it’s possible, but I’ve yet to see it actually happen. I’ve heard a lot about these “bootstrap” people, but I haven’t met one yet. But then again, I haven’t been to the circus in years.