There is a vendor I’ve been working with for the last little while and Karl is a man who works in their office. Karl has always been a bit of an odd duck. I think he is just awkward, so tends to avoid conversation if he can. But when I stopped in there today, there was no one else there, and Karl and I ended up in a conversation that lasted about twenty minutes.
I discovered he is a very humble man who fully embodies the ideology of gratitude which forms the core objective of this blog. He is an older guy with a bit of that “I don’t understand young people today” attitude, but it comes across as an endearing rather than crotchety trait. One topic led to another and he began talking about his experiences in Germany after the war. “There was just no money,” he began. “My family shared a room no bigger than this with two other families,” he continued, gesturing the room we were in, which was maybe 20 by 12 ft. “We had to walk miles and miles for food, and I remember paper stuffed in the toes of my shoes because I was only about 8 years old at the time, and the shoes I had were for a 12-year-old.” His speech was prosaic and not intended to inspire or solicit sympathy; he simply was pointing out that he has every reason to be thankful for what he has now, because he had so little then.
In response to Karl’s story, I could say that today I am thankful for so many things (shoes without paper stuffed in the toe, for instance!), but I think I will boil it down to being thankful for shelter. Today, I am thankful for shelter, and something more than a shelter: a home.