Sometimes for no reason I can see but grace, I just feel grateful for someone God has given me along the way.
When I was 17 or so, with no idea that just three years later I would be baptized in the Catholic Church, I had my first "spiritual director." Bob Jack was one of the punks we hung out with, going to record stores and shows. He made a lasting impression on me.
He made every effort to avoid having money. "The tool of the system," he called it. Being a bit of an artist, he tried to live by barter. He would paint the designs and slogans that punks wanted on their jackets in exchange for food.
He was "straight edge," so he never drank or did drugs. But sometimes he would try to make his friends get drunk so he could "examine them pretense removed," to see if they were genuinely committed to punk values or if they were posers at heart.
I had no idea--thank God!--that all of this was the proximate preparation for my Christian and Franciscan vocation.
So today I'm grateful to God for the spirit of gratitude. Gratitude is an antidote to many sins and miseries.