Monday, November 8, 2010

When You Don't Feel Thankful

Thinking a lot about gratitude this month, as we move toward Thanksgiving.

Gratitude is the opposite of complaining, yet when the sun crept up in the sky, all I could think of was how dissatisfied I was.

The baby didn't sleep last night, intent instead on hitting me repeatedly with a train book, shouting "choo choo!" while bouncing up and down on my back.  Ow.

My husband had no clean socks again this morning, and although he said nothing, I can't hide the huge mountain of dirty laundry in each bed room.

The kids' voices seem sharp - loud this morning.  I need earplugs and cannot stand the wrestling/shrieking that seems to be their preferred method of morning play. 

Yes, if gratitude was dependent on circumstance, we could all find reasons to be less than thankful.  High heat bills.  Unexpected situations throwing a wrench in all our "plans." Daddy having to work on key holidays.  There always seems to be plenty to complain about, this I know - but even with all of that, there is still more to be grateful for.

We get to wrapped up in our lives, in our particular experience.  We plan big.  We work towards goals.  We act completely shocked and upset when things don't always go according to plan.

While I am the first ever me, and you are the first ever you, our experience is not completely unique.  Am I the first overwhelmed mama?  Hardly.  Billions have passed before me, and still more probably will come after.  Somehow the daily concerns and stresses pass away, days move on.  This is all a vapor.  30 years from now, the things that are causing us so much doubt, pain and concern will have disappeared.  Life has a way of moving on, even when our problems seem insurmountable.

Sometimes I look at my gratitude lists and they seem so trite.  Thankful for my husband who works hard, but really only works 40 hours, and makes much more than those who break their backs and souls for mere pennies in other countries.

I say I'm thankful for our health when we don't have colds or the flu, but I've never seen real sickness.  I've never seen a baby die of starvation or AIDS.

I'm thankful for sunshine and bright leaves but ignore so much that I've been given and take for granted.  Clean water.  Clean clothes.  Warmth.  So many live joyful, thankful lives without these things.

Do you ever feel  woefully inept at being thankful for the things in your life?  Do you feel like you complain more than you give thanks?

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1 comment:

  1. Yes. I complain often. This was why I have been trying to find a few things to be thankful for every Monday. So today I haven't found the time to sit and write them down. A cousin of mine reminded me once how truly lucky I am, as she is in her 40s, no kids, no spouse. She is lonely, and I am surrounded by more love than I ever thought I would have.


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