Yesterday was my 31st birthday, and Anna’s gift to me was throwing up all over our kitchen at 7:00am. Happy Birthday, Mommy!
Needless to say, the breakfast Jonathan was cooking for me at the time became much less appetizing.
As she cried and Jonathan grabbed rags, my first instinct was to feel very, very sorry for myself. All I wanted to do was complain about the situation. Really? ON MY BIRTHDAY I’M CLEANING UP BARF? AND WEREN’T YOU JUST SICK WITH STOMACH FLU LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AGO?
But the truth is I’ve had many fantastic birthdays and only a few sour ones. Even this year (the year that forever will be remembered as the birthday o’ barf) I got to pre-celebrate over the last two weekends with dear friends who came to visit. I got a massage and a manicure, had a few fantastic meals out, and great conversation.
Usually when things go wrong in my life, my first instinct is to complain a little bit. For instance, over the last two months I’ve been really frustrated about my prenatal care. While my frustrations were valid, I couldn’t stop complaining about it to anyone and everyone I came across. Although the situation has since been resolved, complaining never made me feel better during the process. What does make me feel better? A spirit of gratitude for what I have.
Over the last few months I’ve caught myself complaining more than I’d like which is why I started a 1,000 gifts inspired gratitude journal for 2013. The journal has helped me complain less than usual, but still not as much as I’d like. As we anticipate Easter I’ve decided to give up complaining completely for the next six weeks. (This post over on Tim’s blog, entitled “What’s so wrong with complaining?” only confirmed my decision.)
I’m sure the next six weeks will be challenging for me. If you’re in my life on a daily basis, you may catch me in the act. My hope is that you’ll hold me accountable to my fast by calling me out, or asking me what is GOOD about the situation instead of the bad. Do I think there are appropriate times to complain? Perhaps. But hopefully the next 40 days or so will help remind me when those rare times are.
Are you giving up anything for Lent this year?
A few articles around the web:
Thursday Thoughts: Intersections (a few Lenten quotes I put up last year)
image credit to First Methodist Grapevine