Levi, now in his eighties, held his words with wonder and frugality, the same way he took care with those rare shiny nickels when he was a boy. There were never more than a few in his pocket, and he surrendered them only with great care. And since Levi prayed the same as he lived, Levi’s prayers were short and direct, never more than three or four sentences. Levi might express bewilderment “at the meanness of things” or ask God to grant kindness to Margie or Duke or the Simpson family as they faced their troubles; but whatever sentence or two might populate the meat of his daily petition, Levi always concluded with exactly the same affirmation: And God, we thank you for the bounty. Amen.
Bounty was a word out of favor, but Levi clung to it. It was not that Levi viewed the world through a rosy tint. God knows he’d lived through more than one man’s share of sorrows. Rather, Levi believed grace was abundant, that grace would surprise you with its persistence. Levi could not agree with modern sentiments grounded in fear, scarcity and exclusion. There was always enough faith, enough hope, enough love – even if some folks misappropriated God’s name and muddled these truths.
Levi assumed that his one-line prayer would do little to alter the stampede of popular opinion, that his prayer was likely only a protest in vain. Levi figured all this was not his concern, that God was more than salty enough to handle his own affairs. So Levi simply kept on. Levi considered this his duty, to speak this one word every day of his life: Bounty.