It's my friend Helen's birthday today. She and her family are suffering greatly at the moment. But when I saw her, her eyes were shining.
"I love my birthday," she said. "When I look back over the past year and see the journey I have been on from despair to great hope, I can't help being thankful."
It's a good gift, this ability to be thankful. I have recently been meditating upon the following admonishment, from Henri Nouwen's Home tonight, attempting to let it fix onto and grow inside me...
The first rule is simply this:
Live this life and do whatever is done in a spirit of thanksgiving.
abandon attempts to achieve security, they are futile,
give up the search for wealth, it is demeaning,
quit the search for salvation, it is selfish,
and come to comfortable rest in the certainty
that those who participate in this life
with an attitude of thanksgiving will receive its full promise.
From Always we begin again: The Benedictine way of living by John McQuiston, 1996.