A favorite part of my daily newspaper read is the Reader’s Forum and the Pages of Opinion. I skim the rest of the paper but really read these. I love hearing what people write about, and I love to hear other points of view. (I always look for the ones that make me laugh, usually authored by people named Mildred or Orville, and I laugh because they tell it like it is, and gosh almighty, it makes sense!)
Lately in our paper, I’ve been reading about three big complaints over and over. Piddly little stuff that makes the complainer seem so self-centered, and petty and ignorant of what is going on in the world. Whining about new city garbage containers, the newspaper not carrying enough TV listings, the dog pound not promoting pet adoptions enough…on and on and on…day after day! I think of what other people in this world who don’t have enough to eat, don’t have access to health care to save their children, can’t even provide their families with clean water to drink…what would they think of us?
So much of what we read, see and hear today as problems, things to be solved, discussed, debated, etc. are really SO trivial. It’s hard to not get sucked in by it all. And the busy-ness of being a mother and all the duties that it entails (and yes! they are plentiful!) sometimes means that days fly by with me never thinking of all the things I take for granted.
I catch myself sometimes complaining about the chore of grocery shopping: pushing my cart in a clean store, money in my pocket, throwing food in my cart for my children’s stomachs. What is there to complain about? How can this be one bit of an inconvenience to me? How many mothers in this world would give anything to be able to pick and choose what to feed their family?
I hear myself sighing loudly about the laundry…yet we are warm and clothed and have cozy beds to sleep in!
I see myself looking at my little chores with dread…I have a house to clean, indoor plumbing, fresh water!
The last couple of years I’ve really tried to make an effort to stop myself when I hear those complaints creeping in, and instead think, “What is the other side of this?” When cleaning the bathroom is on the agenda, I think, “What if I only had a muddy unsanitary river to bathe my babies and children in?” When I’m tired of fixing meal after meal, I think,”What if my children were crying at my feet and I had NOTHING to fix them?” When I’m exasperated at picking up school shoes strewn across the floor, packing lunches, checking book bags, I think, “What if I had to send my child miles and miles away, barefoot, with no lunch, to a tiny dirt-floored schoolhouse?”
It’s always enough to flip that switch in my mind to one of happiness…and total gratitude for how lucky I am.
QUESTION: Are there things in your life you take for granted? Do you complain about responsibilities and chores others would be grateful to have?
CHALLENGE: Take the time to be grateful for what seem to be inconveniences.