I’m moved each time I see Morgan Weistling’s painting of this young girl praying before her meal. She’s the only person we see in the picture, but we don’t know if she is alone or not. What we can see is that she seems to live simply but that there is plenty of food on her plate. Perhaps this is normal for her; perhaps not. In any case, she seems very genuinely thankful for what she has. She does not pray to impress those around her or to humor her parents. She isn’t even petitioning for something she wants. She’s so utterly grateful for the blessings she does have. She doesn’t require much to be happy; rather, her happiness is likely driven by love and family, and to have these physical means is something she doesn’t take for granted. To have anything at all.
I definitely fall into the trap of becoming comfortable and complacent with having so much stuff around me all the time and considering it my normal–that is, if I considered it at all, and I usually don’t. I expect that’s the case for pretty much anyone who has the internet access necessary for being able to read this. And while I do believe that these things are not what’s most important to me, they’re probably more important than they should be, and I rely on them more than I probably realize. This painting strikes me because it carries me back to a time I never knew, when “stuff” wasn’t even a factor, when the people around you were what filled a home. I consider my family to be what fills my home, but I suspect this girl is better able to focus on those things. Not to say that 21st century, first-world people can’t. We absolutely can. But to me, just seeing a simple image like this is such a lovely reminder of what being thankful for the most meaningful things can do. It brings you alive.