Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Got Forkus Prime!

Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, echoing her patroness St. Therese of Liseux, that the secret of sanctitiy was not to be found in the doing of great things, but rather in the doing of little things with great love. I think that a corollary might be that the secret of joy is found not in rejoicing at the great momentous occasions, but rather in finding reasons to rejoice in the daily mundane occasions. It is the kind of sentiment that G. K. Chesterton wrote about in Orthodoxy:

It is a good exercise, in empty or ugly hours of the day, to look at anything, the coal-scuttle or the book-case, and think how happy one could be to have brought it out of the sinking ship onto the solitary island. But it is a better exercise still to remember how all things have had this hair-breadth escape: everything has been saved from a wreck.

Any item that we handle during the day can be a source of joy and gratitude, some things even more so than others. I have a particular example in mind.

We have many forks in our silverware drawer. Most are inexpensive stamped steel. There is one fork, however, that stands out as having superior quality. From the heft, to the material, to it’s curvaceous form, that fork is definitely the elite of the fork drawer. I’ve taken to calling it Forkus Prime.

Forkus Prime has the uncanny ability to brighten my day. When I make my morning breakfast (not to be confused with afternoon breakfast or evening breakfast) and reach for a utensil, I receive a mini-burst of joy when I find Forkus Prime waiting for me. Moreover, I find that the joy persists beyond the moment. Even in the face of a grouchy, pregnant wife, my mood is elevated because “I got Forkus Prime!” It is amazine how I can be affected by such a simple thing.

I have considered splurging for a whole drawer full of Forkus Primes. I suspect, however, that the mini-burst of joy would become severely diluted. In plenty, I would find it exceedingly difficult to achieve Chesterton’s ideal of rejoicing in all things as though they were the only thing saved from the shipwreck. It is much better to play the lottery every time I reach into the drawer in the hope of finding the occasional Easter egg, however humble it might be.

I admit that I still have a long way to go. The ideal would be to rejoice in all the forks, not just Forkus Prime, and not just the forks, but the eggs, toast, and plate as well. I can sometimes accomplish this, provided that I’m already in a reasonably good mood.

Only Forkus Prime, however, has succeeded in changing my foul mood to fair, and for that I am thankful.

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