Toward the end of Chapter 3 of One Thousand Gifts, author Ann Voskamp remarks that sometimes her quest to list 1,000 things for which she is thankful seems quite juvenile. In the midst of mundane existence, is making that list merely a ridiculous experiment?
The truth is, Ann explains, that learning requires practice- and at times that practice is mind-numbing. The obstacle to such intentionality, as C. S. Lewis describes in his book God in the Dock, is the misplaced notion that God created the world simply to make us happy:
“If you think of his world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place for training and corrections and it’s not so bad.”
It’s not enough to read the Biblical injunction to “give thanks in all things” or listen to sermons on the subject. Ann states that we must practice until it becomes second nature to us. She summarizes the relationship between practice and training:
“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice. Hammer. Hammer. Hammer.”
To paraphrase Erasmus, a contemporary of Martin Luther, the nail of ingratitude is driven out by the nail of gratitude. The vacuum created by getting rid of a bad habit must be filled with a good habit.