Little Chocolate Donuts, the Breakfast of Champions.
When I was in high school, I would be woken up every morning at a quarter 'till six by my father. During the baseball season, invariably there were two things that were options for that day to wake me up. Either "Sox Win, Sox Win!" or "Sox Lose, Sox Lose." Immediately every morning, I knew the result of the baseball game that had been on too late for me to possibly consider staying up for it. On rare occasions, when my favorite team had lost in a particularly horrendous manner, as they had the tendency to do when I was younger, I would hear simply.... "Poor Red Sox." That was just how my day would begin.
|My Breakfast in High School.|
When you are in high school it is hard to realize what someone is doing for you, and even heading into college it is very easy to forget that you're really not entitled to much of anything yet in life. None of us have really earned anything when we are young, everything in our life is gift, and I suspect that God is trying to communicate something about the world and about his love for us through that. It is pretty easy to focus on the big things in our lives, the dramatic moments, and the grand gestures. I wouldn't dare not thank my parents for paying for college, and it's not hard to be grateful to the friends who organize birthday parties, or be grateful when someone gratuitously takes on a burden for you. It is harder to be grateful in those small moments though. It is harder to be grateful when it is something routine, something that we come to expect. In fact, I am not sure if I have ever, before now, really expressed my gratitude to my father for all of those mornings waiting for the bus to Northwest Catholic High School.
So, thank you Dad. Thank you for getting up earlier than you had to to get me up. Thank you for going downstairs and wrapping those little chocolate donuts in tin foil for me so that I could take them to the car. Thank you for convincing Mom to buy little chocolate donuts because, despite Jim Belushi's wonderful claim, they weren't exactly full of the kind of sensible nutrition that caution would call for, but boy were they tasty. Thank you, most of all, for not making me hike up that big hill or stand in the cold every morning before school, and more importantly for enjoying that time in the car with me early on weekday mornings.
It is unfortunately all too often the case that we aren't really grateful for the little things that we take to be routine. I wasn't as grateful for those mornings as a kid as I should have been. Yet, what I took to be routine I know now was really anything but. Waking up earlier than me, being ready when he woke me up so that he could move me along, putting out breakfast, sitting in the car rather than getting to work. I now realize that this was no small feat. St. Therese of Liseux, in her autobiography, points out that what she really wanted to do was what Bl. Mother Theresa would later paraphrase as "little things with great love." In fact, every one of those mornings was a little thing done with great love, which in and of itself made it a great thing.
It strikes me that this is precisely how God deals with us, a million little things with great love at every moment of our lives. From the air I breathe as I write this, to the room I sit in to write this, (which happens to be the room where St. Ignatius lived and died) to the food that I will eat later, right down to the light which will fill my window tomorrow morning to wake me up so that I can head over to the university for classes. God constantly bombards us with a million little acts of great love. The key insight of St. Ignatius here is that we have to take time each day to step back and see exactly where it has happened.
Maybe that is the point, maybe we have to learn first in our lives how to accept grace by having everything given to us, the question then becomes one of how it is that we respond. Maybe, just maybe, if we can learn how to be grateful for those gifts we will be able to see even more where God is present in our lives. Maybe even more we can be so aware of that love that we participate in it, and that could mean something as simple as taking tin foil out of a drawer and wrapping up a little chocolate donut, which is, after all, the breakfast of champions.