Today I’m grateful for the assurance that things will be OK.
On the Facebook, I’ve been posting things I’m grateful for the last few days, joining in on a month of gratitude. According to Merriam Webster, gratitude “is a feeling of appreciation or thanks.”
But the LDS Bible Dictionary expands on that idea, they say: “Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us.”
Today as I was thinking about what I was grateful for I couldn’t help but focus on how things are hard for me right now. In fact, I was whining to my mom that all the things I wanted for my life aren’t mine. I’m not married (more importantly, I’m not in love.) I don’t have children that are my own. My family lives far away. My dogs are clearly depressed, and it makes me feel guilty. I live in gestapo, patio-snooping apartments that leave me nasty grams on my door. And I have spent the last half dozen years not working my way up the ladder at my job or going to graduate school to write a book that isn’t selling well.
My parents moved a couple months ago, and it’s been really, super hard on me. Then today, my computer got wet, and I might have lost all of the work I have on my new book. It’s still drying, so we’ll see. Then there’s the fact that the foster care payment is late (yet again!), and I’ll be paying a returned check fee. Money I wanted to spend on the kiddos for Christmas.
And that these things happened today has just darkened this day. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and then feeling guilty that I feel sorry for myself in this circle of woe-is-me shame.
Then, I re-read a friend’s blog post that reminded me that suffering is relative. That my worst day is better than many a person’s best day, and that, I think is the most important part of this month of gratitude.
I am so very blessed. I’ll say it again. I Am So Very Blessed. Hey, hey stupid me, you are so very blessed, and you’re smarter than that woe-is-me ingratitude circle.
Even when I’m stressed, when things are hard, when little things go wrong, I am still so very blessed. I am blessed because even if I can’t get the apartments to waive that fee, I can pay it. Sure, it’ll suck, but I can do it. And my new book has been a struggle for me, so if it’s lost maybe the reincarnation will be even better (Did you know that John Steinbeck’s dog chewed up Of Mice and Men, and he was like oh well and just re-wrote it?! Warning that story is possibly English Major Legend which are like unto urban legends but about stuff only English Majors care about.) And I may not get a new laptop right away, but I can buy a keyboard for one of the other devices I have and carry on with my writing.
So, what I’m trying to say is that suffering is relative, but so is gratitude. Every day that my computer dies, I’m still not in a refugee camp. Every day that I get stuck in traffic, I still have a job (which I actually like). Every day that Boyo is a stinker, he’s still healthy and happy and has an amazing imagination that is fun to hear about. (The bruises on his legs from walking into stuff all the time are from the mouse who lives in his legs. Eventually, he says, he’ll kill that mouse.) And every day that my parents live across the country, they’re still the most amazing parents a girl could want.
So my friends, what I’m saying is that I’m a whiner with an underlying layer of gratitude. I’ll be working on making that gratitude layer be more obvious. Because, as I’ve said before, I Am So Very, Super, Wonderfully, Blessed. I am grateful to God for my blessings. I am grateful to the people who have made my parent’s move Ok by being there for me. I am grateful for my job, my friends, my FAMILY, my mother, my father, my sweet foster children, my sad little puppies, and I’m grateful to live in a country where my big woe is that my very nice apartments are snoopy rather than bound in by barbed wire with too little food.
I am grateful for my suffering which is laughable compared to the horrible trials others in this world face.
If you would like to read my friend’s blog about suffering and being a mommy, you can find it HERE.