Mary witnessed a subtle smile sneak across my face when I was writing in my journal this morning. She asked me why I was smiling.
I told her she was observing the quiet, subtle but deeply satisfying feeling that a person has when they turn a phrase or play a passage perfectly on a violin, or get an answer right on a test. I asked her, “have you ever had that feeling?”
She said “yes,” and asked, “is it that warm tingly feeling I get in my tummy when singing just right or saying a kind word?”
“Yes,” I said. I told her it gives us great inner pleasure to do these kinds of things. They make us feel good about ourselves, especially when we’re young. We feel proud when we accomplish something amazing, even the smallest thing.
“Like finishing our vegetables?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “When we get older, though, we come to realize that these abilities and insights are not coming just from us. They come from God too. Our creativity is the result of God speaking through us. It is a sublime conversation, a divine collaboration, for which we should always be grateful. That’s why they are called gifts.”
“But shouldn’t I feel bad about getting all these gifts?”
“No sweetie, we only feel badly when we’re ungrateful.”