“About the only time we ever stop to realize how glorious it is to be well enough to go and come as we will is when we are indisposed for a day and have to stay at home. Funny thing the way we accept good health as a matter of course, just like good drinking water or hot coffee for breakfast! We never think how seemingly unnecessary it is until we are deprived of it.
It’s a pity we take so much for granted – our food, our clothes, a bed to sleep in – why of course, we have all of them. But go roughing it some time and sleep on a sparse, ill-equipped bed for a night or two. You will then appreciate, as you never did before, your own good bed at home.
We all grow so used to having things done for us – this is taken care, that is looked after – that we get out of the habit of doing them for ourselves. But let the paper boy forget to leave the paper just one evening, and we are lost completely. We would insistently help to get him “fired” from his route; yet day after day, sun or rain, he brings the paper, and we are conscious of its importance only when we miss getting it just once.
Habit causes us to accept family, friends, comforts, and pleasures as a matter of course. Every now and then we should find ourselves without them all, just to learn to appreciate them more.
I have always felt I could be grateful for charity, but I could appreciate love and kindness. And that is what we need, it seems to me, more than anything else – to be kind…to help, to encourage, and comfort those who need us, to say a happy word is wanted, but never to be guilty of doling out kindness as we would plant beans, never more than the specified amounts.
Not long ago I was in Philadelphia, and I visited Independence Hall. Everything there reminded me of the sacrifices that were made for our freedom, comfort, and well-being, and I wondered a dozen times and more whether we appreciated it all as we should or whether were were in the habit of accepting it as we do the daily paper, forgetting how much real effort had gone before to give out many great privileges.”
Source: Thimblefuls of Friendliness by Mary Brooks Picken, 1924