This week while I was prepping my oldest for First Communion, I had one of those moments where surprising wisdom came out of my mouth. Catholics celebrate the Eucharist, which means "thanksgiving" in Greek (I think). As I explained what it is and what it means, I found myself saying that as people who walk with Jesus, we are called to be thankful for all of the gifts we have received. I said, "We can live our day giving thanks to God: Thanks God for my brother, thanks God for his silly laugh, thanks God for food to eat, clothes to wear, a school to go to, and even thanks God for my hurts and hard lessons I learned today."
When the words came out of my mouth, I thought to myself that I should take my own advice. I mean, even if you are an atheist, being thankful is a nicer way to live than not. While I often think to myself when I hear about those less fortunate, "I have been given so much," I don't often stop and think, "Thanks God for a sunny day today." I just simply observe that it is sunny. Living a life of thankfulness could really do so much for my soul, so in that spirit, I want to highlight the things that have, of late, been real blessings in my life, and 7 seems like a good number to begin with:
Joseph and I have been married for eight years, and I'm far from sick of him. I'm pretty sure he feels the same about me. We've been in what I would call a stable stage of marriage. We're finally both at a point where our levels of stress aren't super-high and we can simply just be. It's not stagnant, but it's comfortable. It's not like fireworks, but it's certainly not boring. We are working together on being a better mom and dad, but also on spending more quality time together. We're tired parents of four relatively little kids! Our few hours together at night are pretty ordinary, with occasional bouts of "really awesome" thrown in, but I was just thinking on Friday night, as we tucked the last little boy in, that there's nobody else I'd rather be with on a Friday night.
I'm thankful for real friends who will tell me when I'm being a little bit harsh. I won't go into the nitty-gritty but I was called out for being a tad judgmental. I'm pretty self-aware, so this person wasn't crossing major lines and shocking me, but naturally I was a bit defensive. It's part of my temperament to get caught up in things being a certain way. My friend gets me, and when you reach a stage in friendship where you can give each other the gift of perspective in an honest and open manner, that is a huge gift!
I'm really thankful for little kids being made cute. Because my goodness, some days, if they weren't so cute (even the seven-year-old, but don't tell him I said he's cute)...
|My two littlest!|
I usually get pretty sad that my babies are growing up. I adore the cute stages, and because up to this point, aside from my own siblings and peers, I've never spent a lot of time with children in the 7-10 age group, I haven't been too sure about it. But now I have a 7-year-old who is surprising me nearly every day with the stuff he learns and comes up with. Today, it was with his ability to use power tools. Joseph showed him how to use a jigsaw and a drill press so that he could trace and make his own shurikens (ninja stars). As I watched him with the jigsaw, my heart skipped a beat as I worried for his eyes and fingers and other extremities, but then I realized he was taught by my husband to keep his fingers away and wear eye and ear protection. It was just one of those moments where I had to let my baby go and do his growing up and be thankful he is learning life skills.
I've recently realized that I'm a very poor sufferer. A few weeks ago, I had influenza - not just a tummy bug, the full-on bonafide flu. It was awful! It was a week of awful! My poor family had endure being around me, and I just spent the whole time dragging my body around, trying to survive and take care of people while whining that I just want someone to take care of me. But midway, I realized that if I'm to teach my children to bear suffering well, I must bear it well as an example to them. Offering up my pains and aches and inability to keep up with our life, I learned something about how to grow in that suffering. Bearing suffering well is just one of those things that is hard all around, but I feel like all of us experience some degree of it, and to channel that suffering into purpose and surrender is a huge show of strength and character. So I guess I'm thankful for the flu. I'm more mindful now about how I convey my little sufferings to the kids, and show them that a little hardship can be good for us.
For Lent I gave up procrastination. That decision meant way more than I thought it would. It means my home is a lot cleaner because I'm putting things away now vs. later. It means my kids are fed before they're dying of hunger and whining, because I've thought about dinner and have taken things out of the freezer. It means I'm off my phone (my biggest procrastination tool). It means I'm a leeettle less angry at the end of the day because I'm not overwhelmed with all the stuff I didn't do. But it also means I'm realizing how much further I have to go. I would so rather make another cup or coffee and read a book than fold that laundry that is piling up on the counter, and I still do! If I could just get up the motivation to... I don't know... NOT have to run downstairs to the dryer for clean clothes, I could conquer this laundry battle. Baby steps I guess.
Are you listening to Among the Lilies? I am so thankful for this podcast. I listened to a January episode called, "It's okay to be weak, it's okay to be broken.". I just needed to hear everything in that particular episode. I'm really terrible at asking for help, despite years of hearing that we all need to. I suppose that it just needs to sink in a little more.