Gratitude is important to me every day of my life. Anyone who's had some kind of close call with death---I mean, more than the "Whoa! Almost skidded out there!" type, which is important but easily forgotten---knows that every day is a day to be thankful for.
Am I actually grateful every day? What are you, crazy? Of course not. I'm either working on some dumb editing project, or my new book is going poorly, or I've got a cold, or my knee hurts, or I'm feeling old, or underappreciated, or someone I love is unhappy, or I'm tired, or feeling very old, or missing someone, or the bus is late, or it's raining, or snowing (Gaaah! like yesterday), or too hot, or I'm wondering why Stephen King can fart out a piece of toilet paper and it makes the best-seller lists while I... And no, I'm not very grateful.
But I know I ought to be. I'm usually pretty well, and the bills are paid, and no one's found the bodies (kidding!), and I have people who love me, eyes to see, ears to hear, plenty to eat, a warm home, and a dog that brings me a lot of laughs and a ton of blog entries. I live in the greatest country in the history of the world. I'm not in the hospital today, or in the gutter, but if I was, I'd still have things for which to be grateful. Every day I could make a gratitude list, and every day it would say "Continued on next page."
In our cynical age, when someone survives a friendly hello from Mr. Death, we think That's great and we follow it with But it's not like you're not going to die someday anyhow. At least that's the culture as I read it; not surprising that Mr. & Mrs. Smith, one of our many films that cheapen our idea of human life, contains lines like "Happy endings are stories that just haven't finished yet." (And yet---spoiler alert!---the filmmakers felt obliged to give the heroes a happy ending.)
As for that quote. When you decide life is worth fighting for, even though you know you'll have to relinquish it one day, you realize that the story is more than just the ending anyway. And if you have faith, you believe in very, very happy endings, that are themselves just beginnings.
In my life, basically nothing is how I would have asked for it, but everything is better than I deserve. And if I can't take a moment to be thankful for God's blessings on my nation and my life, then I'm a lesser creature than that turkey in the oven.
For what are men better than sheep or goatsOkay, that's enough; I'll be back to my whiny self tomorrow. But today, there's pie.
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.