I’ve written about gratitude on more than one occasion…on the difference between having an attitude of entitlement and having one of gratitude. And my daily prayer includes an Ignatian examen, one of the first steps of which is to review our day in thanksgiving, thanking God for all of the gifts of the day.
Sometimes we thank God for really big things. A close friend or relative recovers from a serious illness. Someone who has been unemployed for a long time finds a job. A relationship that was fractured is healed. A cease-fire is unexpectedly reached in a conflict situation.
But sometimes our gratitude is for things much smaller. Yesterday was an humid day in New York. Whereas rain sometimes causes a break in the humidity, in this case everything felt really closed and uncomfortable. I think many of us at the retreat house were feeling the effect of the heat and humidity.
And then came lunch, or more accurately, lunchtime dessert – ice cream…two flavors…several choices of toppings and, of course, whipped cream. I sat in the dining room watching the faces of the retreatants, all of whom have long since said good-by to their childhood days. I sat and I watched their pure enjoyment of the simple dessert. It wasn’t gourmet. It wasn’t something that took someone a long time to prepare. But it was the perfect thing for a hot and humid day. It was just right.
I sat and watched, while I was enjoying my own bowl, of course. And I smiled and said, Thank you, God. Thank you for ice cream on a hot day.