My Lenten discipline this year focuses on gratitude.
I am disappointed by my tendency to get exasperated whenever something goes wrong in life, while taking for granted the 99.9% of things that go OK. For example, car goes 125,000 miles and provides a good service. Needs a new transmission? "Sh-t. Dammit. What a pain." Unexpected problems are always cropping up.
It's as if I carry some implicit expectation, hidden in the back of my mind, that life is or should be smooth and go right all the time. A sort of infantile utopian assumption probably partly engendered by growing up safe and comfortable in America in the 20th Century. It's a flaw, and I plan on going to war against it with gratitude for everything that goes well. For example, the fact that my heart continues to beat steadily and miraculously while I accept - and expect - that it cannot do so indefinitely.
Given time, some things will always go wrong or not work out well. When I am forced to be honest with myself, many of the things that go wrong are at least partly my own damn fault anyway, due to laziness, stubborness, poor judgement, boneheaded or wrong impulses, lack of planning, character defects, stupidity, ignorance, etc.
It's the opposite of the Wild Turkey phenomenon. People tell me that Turkey hunting must be easy, because they see Turkeys all the time. I remind them of all the times they don't see Turkeys - and tell them that's what most Turkey hunting is like.
Photo is of your Editor, Bird Dog's, alter ego