The electricity is out on my street this morning. Without realizing it, my routine revolves around volts and amps. Whether it is the coffee I drink or the furnace I depend on, many of my needs and most of my desires are dependent on things I cannot see.
I am guilty of not being grateful for the small things. “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” It has also been my experience that only when something ends or dies am I able to recognize the joy that saturated it. Whether it is the end of a friendship, love or a neighbour that moves away, in the midst of our days we sometimes fail to recognize or acknowledge the gift. When someone we love dies we can look back and see exactly what we had and what we will miss. It may be that we idealize the relationship or it could be we finally realize its value.
I remember being allowed my first drink in jail following the dreadful experience of being directed to go without food or water. I was in the semi-private toilet area and I wept. I was thankful but part of my emotion rose from the fact that in my thirty odd years I had never been grateful for a glass of water.
Following this episode I would pray and offer thanks to everyone who made my meal possible. I quietly thanked the farmer and even the steelworker who made the plow. My food tray was spotless minus the packet of salt on which I wrote my thanks to the inmates who worked in the kitchen.
It can be argued that I was psychotic but I do not believe one needs to lose touch with reality to be thankful. One needs only to look further into it.