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Something like.....

That poor schlep over there and I were in the same circumstances, but God has looked kindly on me and spared me his awful fate.

Trying to be a bit more elegant, I typed the phrase into google and found this....

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I - "On seeing several criminals being led to the scaffold in the 16th century, English Protestant martyr John Bradford remarked, 'There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.' His words, without his name, are still very common ones today for expressing one's blessings compared to the fate of another. Bradford was later burned at the stake as a heretic." From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson, Facts on File, New York, 1997.
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Thank you Sheila! Makes a lot more sense now! My mom who is 92 says that phrase a LOT and I never did ask her what in the world she meant!
Thanks for clearing it up for me! (I always felt stupid for admitting I didn't fully understand it)

Allison

sheila
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