These days I am reading Colin Thubron’s haunting travelogue
To a Mountain in Tibet, the fifth of his nine travel books I have read, all of them immersing me in Asia. It brings warm memories
of my journey to Nepal when I trekked to the Tibetan border and looked over into this mystical
and enigmatic land. Traveling with Thubron is vicariously being there
in person, so rich, lyrical and descriptive is his prose. Harper-Collins publishers
have labeled him as arguably the most admired travel writer of our time.
“You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that
is given to you -- today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift you are given right now.
And the only response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else cultivate that response to the unique day that it is. If you learn to respond as if it is both the first day and the very last day, then
you will have spent this day very well. Begin by opening your life with surprise
that you have eyes you can open. That incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. if you really look at
the sky, if you really note how different it is-- that from moment to moment -- the clouds coming and going. If you just think of the weather and even with the weather we don’t think of all the many nuances
of weather, we just think of good weather and bad weather. This day right now
is unique weather; the formation of clouds will never be the same as it is right now.
Open your eyes AND look at that! Look at the faces of the people that
you meet; each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom, not only their own
story but the story of their ancestors. They all go back so far. And in this
present moment, in this day, all the people you meet all that life for so many generations from so many places all over the
world flows together and meets you like life giving water if you only open your heart and drink. Open your heart to the incredible gift that civilization gives to us.
You flip a switch and there is electric light; you turn a faucet and there is warm and cold water and drinkable water,
a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience. And these
are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which you can open your heart . And
so I wish you can open your heart to all these many blessings and every one you meet on this day will be blessed by you...Just
by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness
oveflow into blessing for all of you. And then it will really be a good day.” Script to Happiness Revealed, a film by Louie Schwartzberg.
Thankfulness works in the Christian community as it usually does
in the Christian life. Only those who give thanks for the little things receive the great things as well. We prevent God from
giving us the great spiritual gifts prepared for us because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. ...We pray for the big
things and forget to give thanks for the small (and yet really not so small!) gifts we receive daily. How can God entrust
great things to those who will not gratefully receive the little things from God’s hand?
"Preach the Gospel to every person; if necessary, use words." St. Francis of Assisi