Ann Voskamp's new book, One Thousand Gifts, made it into our house and is challenging a very small group of discontents to make that list of things one is thankful for, to list the things we thought were ugly and mere distractions from "real life"as the things that help refine our hearts. It sounds way too simple, and perhaps like wishful, positive brainwashing, but the exercise of giving thanks is akin to weight lifting and squats--small intense movements that produce long term, major effects. There's a way of understanding the common, everyday things that we miss in the blindness of a perspective of mundanity.
Our morning toast is a gift of someone else's labor, therefore we owe thanks.
The cream cheese on my bagel is a gift of produce from a creature of the earth, therefore I am indebted and render thanks.
And tea--what would the day be without it?!--a gift that travelled far and through many hands to reach us, thus multiple layers of thanks is offered for this one cup.
I am impressed, upon thinking about the things I'm thankful for, what a debtor I am.