A grateful person will say “thank you” before checking what’s inside the gift-wrapping. If you wait to express your thanks until after you have examined the gift, you might be smart, but no one will call you grateful. True gratefulness is courage to give thanks for a gift before unwrapping it.
--Brother David Steindl-Rast in Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer
This book has captured my attention, or much of it, for the past several weeks. Between the richness and depth of Br. David’s writing and the complexities of our lives, I’ve been able to read only pages at a time. So many nuggets of truth! This nugget in particular caused me to pause. And ponder.
What might be thought of me? Smart? Or grateful?
In his chapter on Faith and Beliefs, Br. David goes on to say: Now, it might not cost you a great amount of courage to trust your friend. True enough, that box wrapped in gold paper is just the right size to contain a medium-large time bomb. But who would even dream of that possibility? When life hands you a gift, however, it’s a more serious matter. God has a way of putting time bombs into pretty packages. We know that from past experience, and now we get another one of those surprise gifts. To be there to say “thank you” and mean it does take courage. It is as if you were saying: Watch it! This might be another one of those whoppers. It might blow me to pieces. But even if it does, I trust that this is just what I need right now.” That’s trust all right! And that trust in the Giver is the crucial point where faith and gratefulness meet.
While we have learned that my husband’s tumor is malignant, we have also learned that because of its type it responds favorably to both radiation and chemo. He feels good about being part of a study to help others, in the future, with his type of cancer. His incision is healing nicely so he is scheduled to begin radiation in two weeks.
Holy and Most Gracious God, Creator of All Things, and Giver of All Life … may we give you thanks for all things, and trust you in all situations and circumstances.
Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat