"Do not let a day slip by without considering God's favors...
Preserve them assiduously in the greatest possible purity and love them dearly, but even more, love him who so blessed you."
- Fray Francisco De Osuna
How quickly we can forget the gifts we've been given. It is so easy to complain, to worry and fume over what we don't have or things that don't go our way. I'm as guilty of this as anyone. And for some, spouting near-constant streams of vitriol about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket comes more easily than being positive. Maybe it's naive of me, but I try, most of the time anyway, to look on the brighter side of things (mostly because maintaining such a level of negativity seems exhausting). There is so much we have been blessed with, abilities and possessions that we often take for granted. Life, for one.
Today, if she was still living, would have been my great-grandmother's 115 birthday. She made it to 109, so that in itself was pretty impressive. When she was born, she was very weak, and the doctor and her family didn't think she would survive. But after her baptism, according to family history, she began to improve. I first heard the story in 1995, when we had a huge celebration for her 100th birthday. I remember looking around the room that day, filled with my family -- there were probably 100 of us, easily, and there are more now -- in one of the smaller ballrooms at the Holiday Inn in Alton, Ill. and thinking if she had died as a baby, how few of the people in that room would have been born. The seven sons she raised into adulthood all married and had children, and most of them had kids of their own, too. The fourth generation is having children now as well. All those lives, and the things they did and do to touch the lives of others, wouldn't have existed.
So I am thankful for breath. For movement and vision and hearing. For the gifts and talents I've been graced with, and the opportunity to use and share them. For a job which, despite my mutterings about it, keeps food on my table, gas in my car and a roof over my head. Many these days aren't so fortunate. For my quirky family, who although they sometimes have the ability to exasperate me more than anyone, put up with me, too, and love me. They are always there. And for my friends, near and far, who laugh with me (and frequently at me), endure my near-constant spouting of random facts and, most importantly, pray for me. I praise God for all of you.
And for God, who gave me all, and who also gave His son, and the Son who gave his life. There aren't thanks enough.