Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning to Live Gratitude - Even When I Fail

Today was Audrey's first "official" day of gymnastics at her regular time. She was so excited. I left with plenty of time to even stop by Starbucks for a little breakfast treat for us to share. Going my usual way to Starbucks, I encountered the first roadblock. Road closed. And the line of cars down the detour route was so very long. I turned around to take a different route, made it to Starbucks, and treats in hand, we turned out of the parking lot to head to the gym. That's when I noticed the long line of cars. And another road closed. I sat in the long line of cars for awhile then turned off on to a side street only to get tangled up in the traffic of an elementary school just beginning its day. I was going nowhere, so I returned to the long line of cars I had already been in. From there, I decided to try another side street off the opposite side. Just when I thought I was going to break free of the traffic, there it was again: another Road Closed sign. This time I was able to see beyond the sign to discover the hold-up: massive flooding.

By this time, we were already 10 minutes late for class. I circled all the way back almost back to home and attempted it from a different direction down a back road. Road Closed. So back we went to the original detour and to the long line of cars I had turned away from to begin with.

Through all of my driving and turning around, I noticed some homes that were almost completely surrounded by water, and the thought brushed my mind: Oh, those poor people. What a mess they have to contend with. Quickly, though, my selfishness and frustration would push those thoughts aside and replace them with irritated thoughts about having to sit in traffic for an hour, angry about not making it on time to my baby's class.

On top of all of this, I was almost out of gas and later as I stood outside pumping gas, I complained again. You see, up here in our new home, few of the gas pumps have the auto-fill clamps on them so I have to stand outside and hold the pump. This seems so trivial, yet it grates on my nerves to no end.

As I drove away from the gas station, I began to think about my attitude and about this new Life of Gratitude I have supposedly begun to live, though you sure wouldn't know it. Isn't the whole point of counting our blessings so we can see the amazing things God has done for us, the incredible gifts He gives us? Aren't we to count the blessings especially in the midst of the ugly? Doesn't doing so allow us to see the beautiful in the ugly? Why, then, am I so consumed with myself and the inconveniences of life that I can't stop my grumbling and replace it with gratitude?

If I had done so, I could easily have listed these blessings:

39. Living at the top of a hill, thus escaping the flooding rains that poured on us last night.

40. Only having to pay for gas in one car.

41. A little girl's arms clutched around my neck and a sweet kiss she plants on my cheeks each time I buckle her in her seat.

42. An adorable, mini notebook to tuck in my purse so I don't miss noting the blessings.

Wouldn't my drive this morning, long as it was, have been a lot more pleasant if I had been counting gifts rather than rattling off complaints?


Jen said...

What a beautiful post and one I needed to read this morning. I'm not proud to say it but since I began the journey of counting my gifts there has been more then one time that I've realized LATER that situations could have been handled differently if I'd remembered to count the blessings.

Dawn said...

I so get your post today! Wow. Are you sure you weren't describing me?

Remember...Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle.

Alex said...

I have a little notebook JUST LIKE THAT!!!!!!

Bunch of Barrons said...

Great post...great reminder!

Marianne said...

Thank you for visiting me. I know it is so easy to see no longer than our own nose. I have taken so many lessons at the red lights when I drive. It seems to have become Gods way of stopping me in my tracks to teach me about patience and changing my attitude.
I am however a slow learner.
My daughter is doing better as her bloodwork has improved so much that the doctor wants to keep her off the antibiotics.

tsinclair said...

too funny Alex!

back to the post - I am so thankful that God is not human (as we are). I know that personally I would get fed up with people. As you say, we tend to easily notice the problems while forgetting all that he has blessed us with.
How many times do I say to my kids, "How many times have I told you, be thankful for what you have and not what you don't", and so on.
I think I need a dose of my own medicine. :-)

#1 reason to be thankful - that God is so forgiving.

btw - love #41

CrossView said...

Ah! One of my own personal battles.

Beautifully put....