Last night could have been a disaster. I had plans for a family game night and, by 5:30 p.m., it looked like my agenda was being threatened. Did you catch that honest evaluation, right there? That alone is progress, folks, something I could celebrate like New Year’s Eve! So, after some firm words, dinner, more words, assembling the kids around the table, and still more (louder) words, it was 7 p.m. and Chutes and Ladders was finally underway! “Victory, O, Victory is mine…!” While we played one child (who will be unnamed) was getting upset because the spinner kept hitting low numbers. Advancing up the board was too slow and a few tears were shed (hence the reason for withholding the name). Eventually the spinner landed this certain player one space away from the coveted ladder: the one that would spell instant win. In a stroke of good luck the spinner landed on 1 and this player celebrated like a champion athlete! It was exciting to watch, of course, but I had to wonder what the reaction would have been if someone else had won. I know how I’ve reacted and pathetic doesn’t even describe it remotely well enough.
Lately, I have come to accept that there is much about my attitude that needs to change, namely my reaction to unexpected, unpleasant, or uncomfortable outcomes. Why is that, you may wonder. Well, silly reader, I am just as much a whiner baby, at times, as my kids can be, or anyone else for that matter. It bugs me when things don’t go my way and that’s the simple truth of it. The problem, however, is that once I start nitpicking things it’s hard to stop. Then it becomes a habit and the habit becomes a lifestyle until I become the mean old lady that no one wants to visit or have over for dinner. That's very sad but very true, friends. So, in a moment of revelation, I thought about gratitude, the best antidote to grumbling. Then I started to think about what I am thankful for. Simple things. Real things. Honest things. And this is what I came up with. Can you think of a similar list?
Thank You, God, for allowing and even inviting me to talk to You about everything that's on my mind and heart. Thank You for sending Your Son to save me from myself, because I know how easily I mess everything up. Thank You for all Your blessings that I could never deserve, despite my absurd attempts to earn them.
Thank you, Bill, for loving me in spite of everything you know about me. Thank you for being the husband and father I’ve only ever dreamed of partnering with. Thank you for being a man of godly character and conviction when it would be so easy to just give up trying.
Thank you, Elizabeth, Murron, Uilleam, and MacAulay for needing me when I so often doubt my abilities to offer anything to you. Thank you for trying so hard to meet my expectations when your blood runs crazy wild with childhood energy and unpredictability. Thank you for coming to me for hugs and kisses, and letting me hug and kiss you back.
Thank you, friends, for giving me an outlet for my outrageous comments and behavior. Thank you for helping me develop my social skills when, sometimes, I’d rather curl up under a blanket and hide. Thank you for accepting me into your own uniquely blessed lives.