BY DIANNE BRIGHT
With three sick kids home from school today and myself recovering from the flu as well, I'm feeling a little blue. Constant laundry, mopping, and sanitizing, along with incessant hand-washing that's turning my hands into lizard-skin. Plus it's hard to see your kids feel so lousy. You just want them to get better, but it takes time.
Certainly, it is that season to get sick, so it's not a surprise that it hit our whole family (minus my hubby, the lucky duck). And it reminds me to be thankful for the healthy days that we have most of the year. The ones where nothing much happens out of the ordinary.
So many days, we pine for more excitement, more of something we're not even sure of, rather than just being thankful for what's right in front of us. I'll give you a dramatic example. A friend from school recently had an affair on her husband and left him for another man, because her life seemed boring in her current situation. And I'm not making this post about judging her life and what she's gone through. Maybe her husband was a total loser. Then again, maybe he wasn't?
Sometimes, our human nature pushes us to assume there's something better around the corner, when "pretty great" stares us in the eyeballs today! When I think of this friend, it makes me reflect how thankful I am that my marriage approaches its fourteenth year doing well, not full of back-flips, but steadily sustained -- and happy. It's got areas for improvement just like everyone else's, but it makes me glad we haven't given up over the years even when times have gotten tough.
Frequently, I feel like my life is humdrum regarding motherhood. The kids get home from school, throw their shoes and backpacks into our front walkway, and sprint out to the backyard to jump on the trampoline, making enough noise to instantly trigger one of my migraines. Or they race upstairs to play Wii or to watch a video for the hundredth time, making uncontrolled messes as they go.
In all honesty, the lunch preps, the laundry, the homework, the driving, the cleaning -- it can all start to feel so burdensome. You might relate, that your life doesn't amount to more than you'd planned up to this point as well. I'm thankful for all that I have, of course, just like you are. But my attitude often says otherwise. It's occasionally resentful and lame. The whole "poor me" routine replays its sad song like an old '80s jingle that I just can't get out of my head.
Even professionally, I thought I would have published my postmodern novel by now. It was a big 2011 goal of mine that came and went. But I'm not giving up. I'm pressing forward because I believe it's the right thing to do. I have this strange calling to finish it and to edit the heck out of it, no matter what comes of it. Do you have any of those career goals that aren't quite where you'd expected them to be at this point? But it's okay because stuff happens. We get distracted. We run into bad luck. The stars aren't aligned for a certain editor on a particular day.
But life is life! And sometimes you see that friend who wishes she'd made the better choice, but gave up too soon. Or you're stuck at home with your kids as sick as dogs puking over the toilet. These experiences give us perspective (if we allow them to), even if just a few teaspoons at a time.
What about another friend of mine who has to take two months off work to be with her sick kid during his chemo treatments? I bet she'd rather be at home cleaning up his messes all day long, you know? But even then, she's so upbeat, just trusting God that things will work out.
Those boring days seem beautiful and glorious in contrast to some of the stories we hear about. And it's always about a certain mindset that gets us through those tough days or seasons in our own lives as well. Because we know that someone else has it a lot worse than we do. And we also realize that we are usually a lot stronger than we think we are. The tough times often prove how brave we actually are.
All this said, enjoy today! Whether you're home with sick kids like I am, or doing the monotonous pick-up taxi-cab routine in the next hour. Whether you're serving chicken broth and Saltines or a full-on roast with veggies and wine, take in this moment that you've been given.
And before you go making any drastic judgments about your boring life or your boring spouse or your boring kids or your less-than-perfect job, try to be thankful for what you've been given for this season. Sometimes stopping to reflect can be the most refreshing thing you've done all year. And since we're into 2012 now, why not take a few moments to write up a list of all the things you're thankful for?
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