Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG
“But I don’t want water. But I don’t want to do that. But I don’t like that. Ugh, that’s nasty. But he never. She never. I want this. I want that.”
Grumbling. No rejoicing. All on a day I had planned just for them. I don’t think the day went by with one single praise for anything He had done, or I had done, in fact.
It is on days like these that I would like to pack up my family. Move to some distant land. Let them see what “living” really is. Without internet. Without clean water. Without air conditioner, and the drive-thru of their choice.
There are days I need this reminder, too.
Because, quite honestly I have a lot of reasons to grumble. And on the days I find that maybe I grumble a little more, I also have many more to be thankful. Many more reasons to be grateful.
I’ll be missing one more person again this year during the holidays. While it seems I should be used to it at this point, it seems to be harder this time around. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s because my little family is now a generation larger since I have become a MeeMaw and life has taken on new meaning.
I still find reasons to grumble. But the things that used to bug me, just don’t anymore. I also find the things that used to get under my skin, and make me angry don’t have the same effect on me as they once did.
I have not always been this way. I am a scream in traffic girl. A glass half-empty girl. A “I hate people” girl. Yes…there are days I don’t like people. I really don’t like to be around them. On those days, I just want to be alone, with a blanket, and a book.
And because I have to force myself to see life in that glass half-full perspective, I also have to force myself to count my blessings each day, not just during the Thanksgiving season. So I simply started keeping track of three small things for which I was grateful each day. And, while it may not have made me forget that there is something missing again this holiday season, it has done a few things. Forcing myself to be thankful has also forced me to think about all the things on a given day that don’t cause me to grumble. That make me happy. That bring me joy.
Those three things give me reason to praise God through the loneliness, thanking him for all the times He has placed someone in my path in those times of loneliness or defeat to breathe life into those empty places.
To praise God for all the times He did answer me, even when I thought he was not listening.
To stop rushing to work every morning, and actually stop and enjoy a morning sunrise. To enjoy the quiet, calm of an office before the morning buzz takes over.
To appreciate cute baby onesies picked up for the grandson. Or a new mug to enjoy my morning cup of coffee. To reflect on the conversations that have value and meaning, with the people that mean the most to me. To remember the times that I laughed with my kids, and the times they also did not complain and grumble through the day.
To relish the conversations that a 21 year old still wants to have with his mother. And the memories that an older sister has with her once again absent brother.
I can grumble over all the things that are wrong. I can complain over all the things that are bad. Continue to be sad over all the things that are not going as planned. I will always find something that will fit into one of those categories.
And, I will also always find something to bring me joy.
I just have to take the time to look for it.
Stop my grumbling. Change my perspective. Choose to be happy. Choose to be thankful.