I have learned over a period of time to be almost unconsciously grateful--as a child is--for a sunny day, blue water, flowers in a vase, a tree turning red. I have learned to be glad at dawn and when the sky is dark. Only children and a few spiritually evolved people are born to feel gratitude as naturally as they breathe, without even thinking. Most of us come to it step by painful step, to discover that gratitude is a form of acceptance.
Praying, we usually ask too much. I know I do. Sometimes we even demand. I think I am learning to ask enough for the moment--not for the whole year, utterly veiled in mystery; not even for the week, the month ahead; but just for today. Jesus said it all when He told us to pray: 'Give us this day our daily bread.'That bread is not only material, it is spiritual; in asking for it, we ask for a sufficiency of strength, courage, hope and light. Enough courage for the step ahead--not for the further miles. Enough strength for the immediate task or ordeal. Enough material gain to enable us to meet our daily obligations. Enough light to see the path--right before our feet.
I see now how things even up, how they are squared away, and how they balance under the law of love and justice. No year of life is emotionally, spiritually or even materially, all drought or all rainfall; nor is it all sun. The road turns a little every day, and one day there's a sudden twist we didn't dream was there, and for every loss there is somewhere a gain, for every grief a happiness, for every deprivation a giving.
What I have learned from the year past is something about miracles--miracles of healing and answered prayer and unexpected happy endings. Each came quietly and simply, on tiptoe, so that I hardly knew it had occurred. All this makes me realize that miracles are everyday things. Not only the sudden, great good fortune, wafting in on a new wind from the sky. They are almost routine, yet miracles just the same. Every time something hard becomes easier; every time you adjust to a situation which, last week, you didn't know existed; every time a kindness falls as softly as the dew; or someone you love who was ill grows better; every time a blessing comes, not with trumpet and fanfare, but silently as night, you have witnessed a miracle.