What words suffice to praise the gifts of Providence within our minds and bodies, or the gifts of Creation?  Had we but understanding, we should never cease hymning and blessing the Divine Power, both openly and when alone. Whether traveling or cultivating the soil, building or cleansing or eating, should we not sing the hymn to God?  In the warmth of our abode or under the great open sky—why think we of aught else but How great the gifts that have been given us.  The tools and the faculties, the senses and the instinct and the knowledge, these are gifts that we could not exhaust though we passed a hundred lifetimes in their rapture.  Our hands and the power of swallowing and digesting; of unconsciously growing and breathing while we sleep,  the truths that are given our hearts—could we ever have imagined to ask for such treasures? Thus should we ever sing; yea and this, the grandest and divinest hymn of all:  Great is the mystery of my heart, great is the mystery of the heavens, great is the bounty of the earth, and grateful are we for the mind to apprehend these things, and the body to touch them!

Were I a nightingale, I should turn my gratitude to song. Were I a swan, I should transmute my joy to a water dance. But now, since I am a reasonable being, I must make of my words and of my life a song of praise: Thus I do, nor will I desert this my post, so long as it is granted me to hold it; and upon you too I call to join in this self-same hymn.

— From Golden Sayings of Epictetus, retranslated and interpreted a bit by your host, JJM, based on a translation by Hastings Crossley.


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