“Nothing is better for man than a good wife…”
Hesiod, Works and Days
One might wonder whether that is an overstatement.
It was once suggested to me that Thanksgiving is a good time to focus on one thing for which we are grateful. It now strikes me that this practice will be especially fitting when a particular gift is not just one gift among others. Certain gifts somehow embody so much more; even the whole.
What if who I am—indeed, who it has been given to me to be—cannot be separated from this particular gift? What if my reception, be it ever so inadequate, of this gift has been the ground from which other gifts—some of them persons!—have been given to me?
Some men do not have a wife; there are vocations other than marriage. Some married men, alas, may not have a good wife; they, I suppose, must try to find the gift even in this. And then some, God-forbid, have a good wife, but do not receive and respond to that gift. Perhaps for some of us it is still not too late: to respond, to live in gratitude.
I see a great task before me. But only a fool would turn away.
Naturally speaking, what greater good indeed is there for me, than my good wife? God grant me the strength not only to have gratitude, but to live it.
Hesiod (8th century B.C.) was a Greek contemporary of Homer, and likewise an epic poet.
Image: When the Kye Come Hame, Scottish