One of the principal spiritual practices at which I am not gifted, is the recognition of the abundance in my life. Not only in health, or in material abundance--I am not wealthy in American terms, but but any reasonable measurement, I have plenty.
But where I am especially blessed, and where I am wealthy in any measurement, is in the love in my life--my remarkable (and tolerant!) family, the extraordinary friends I have found along the way, the incomparable La Caterina, and let us not forget the animals who enrich our lives with unqualified love, too.
Many years ago, I stumbled across a poem that has stayed with me, by Rudyard Kipling, so forgive the archaisms:
0NE man in a thousand, Solomon says.I have been singularly blessed by the presence of more than one, but several "thousandth men" and "thousandth women," too, in my life. You know who you are, and if you don't--shame on me for not letting you know. I may be rubbish at keeping in touch, and forget that even in life's turbulent stream, we need to pull up occasionally, and be grateful for the gift of our fellow wayfarers, as I am tonight, will be tomorrow, and every day thereafter.
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.
'Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for 'ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don't matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.
You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he's worth 'em all
Because you can show him your feelings.
His wrong's your wrong, and his right's your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men's sight
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can't bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot - and after!