Gratitude is humbling. Or maybe it’s suffering that, if honestly and courageously faced, humbles us sufficiently to carve out a place for thanksgiving. Gratitude finds little welcome in the swell of entitlement, pride or petulant diatribes about “what I deserve.” I mean, good for you if you have worked hard and faithfully to earn or achieve something worth having! But, even “gooder” for you if you can celebrate and say thank you for that which you have not earned. Could not have earned. The joys of life beyond earning. — Steven Kalas






I’m convinced gratitude is the most constant and accurate measure of spiritual health and wholeness. I have this keen memory of my maternal great-grandmother, all talcum powder and wrinkles, squeaky chalk-on-a-chalkboard voice, singing, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.”

“What do you say, Steven,” was the constant, admonishing question of my childhood. “Thaaaank you,” I would say, obediently, eyes sullen. How did I know this teaching from my parents and grandparents would, 50 years later, be my most priceless possession?


I type quietly. All three of my children are here with me in this two-bit hotel room. Sleeping. Yesterday we sat, side by side, at Lambeau Field. Me and Jonathan in Fort Knox gold and Kelly green, and Aaron and Joseph in Metallic turquoise, black and white. My team lost. But I won. My heart is so full, it aches.

Now thank me all my God. I tell my children that, if the Proverbial Bus happens by, to know I was happy. Sappy with contentment. Enemies forgotten and irrelevant. Loved ones forgiven each, and cherished.

That I died drowning in gratitude.


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