It’s easy to complain. It’s too easy too complain. In fact, it’s downright effortless. Even surrounded by countless blessings, one can find themselves huddled in a corner counting off their inconveniences and missing objects. I was reminded of this tonight.
It started with going to the movie with my daughter. She’s reaching the age where she really wants to do more grown up activities, or at least what she perceives as more grown up. She can’t identify why she wants to go to the mall, just that she wants to go. So today we settled on a movie together. Knowing the boys have clear lines drawn about the types of movies they want to see, and asking her to continually sacrifice her own wants when the topic comes up, I offered to take her to a movie today that she would enjoy. So we went to see The Blind Side.
When I got home I found a few more chores waiting for my attention; dinner, laundry and making a bed to name a few. I found myself putting clothes away and thinking to myself how I’d just gotten done doing something for someone else and how nice it would have been if I could have not had to come home and do more. I dreamed of how nice it would be to just do the things I want to do instead of all the things that need done. And just like that, I was complaining. Complaining, while all around me were signs of success: clothes to launder and put away, money for a movie, the convenience of picking up dinner when it’s too late to make something, having a wonderful family of my own to be responsible for. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I suppose I was feeling a little backlash from the abrupt timing of leaving for the movie. Cid had been such a trooper helping without being asked around the house. She’d wanted to go out this morning and I told her I had too many chores to do, so she jumped in helping with a few in the hopes that it might speed things along and leave enough time to do something she wanted. I couldn’t turn her down, she’d earned it. I mean, how many 12 year old girls do you know will clean their 7 year old brother’s disastrous room on their own and be happy about it? I was planning on doing a family movie up until about 5 minutes before plans changed and we had to rush out the door to catch the chick flick. I left my projects in midstream which left me somewhat befuddled, but I’m not sorry; it was quality time with a sweet girl who means the world to me. The movie, based on a true story, brought so much back into focus. A 17 year old boy with nowhere to live, from a broken home, a broken life, a broken family. When a private school’s coach sees his potential athletic ability he pushes to get him admitted to the school despite his low scores and lack of files or other meaningful information. One family acts on seeing him alone in the rain one night and they take him in. What starts out as a short term arrangement ends up as a permanent arrangement and addition to the family with every blessing and wonderful thing that comes with it, including scholarships to college and an eventual position in the NFL – literally a life saved. The story really brought to the forefront the realities of stark comparisons for a life with and a life without, as well as the amazing power of love and kindness. A reminder that we all have so much to give, and there are scores of others waiting for us to recognize that, waiting for a needed lift.
So, I stopped for a moment while putting away clothes and making the bed to think on how much I have. To recognize that I was complaining about having to do the basic things that indicate I have my basic needs met. How silly. I took a moment to realize how blessed I am and how good we have it. I only hope it’s the first of many such reflections in the coming year.