This post was born while I changed a poopy diaper. Not so surprising since I do a lot of that.
As is sometimes the case, my toddler fought my effort to make him clean, pleasant-smelling, and rash-free by flailing around, threatening to inadvertently smear feces over everything within heiney’s reach. As I struggled to wipe the mess from my precious son’s behind, I wondered for the umpteenth time why he did it. Not the pooping. I’m pretty clear on the reason for that. It’s the flailing that causes consternation.
Seriously. If someone is willing to wipe your poopy behind for you because you can’t do it yourself, praise God, be grateful, and try to make the experience as pleasant and short-lived as possible. Don’t thrash around like a crazy person, kicking at the blessed soul who wipes your stinky hindquarters and still loves you more than life itself. Don’t twist away, pushing at the changing pad, shrieking and laughing. Where’s the gratitude?
Where’s the Gratitude?
And then I thought, where’s my gratitude? Not on the easy stuff. I like to think I’m of a grateful sort. In an effort to curb envy, I’ve made a practice of being thankful instead.
The neighbor zipping by in his sports car to his home that’s three times the size of ours and worth four times as much?
Thank you, Lord, that I’ve always had a safe, comfortable place to live.
The family that seems to have it all together, not falling apart at the seams, like ours?
Thank you, Lord, for the blessings of my husband and the children you’ve entrusted to us.
For a long time, I made it part of my bedtime prayer routine to thank God for ten things that day. Never once was I unable to come up with ten things. Often many more. But they were often exclusively the good things. How often do I thank God for the crap? The stuff that looks to me like someone unfairly holding me back, gripping me by the ankles while I thrash and kick and try to get away? The hard stuff for which St. Paul says we should be grateful. Things like sending patience via children that have frayed my nerves to the very end. Or the opportunity to practice forgiveness and humility when my husband and I argue over the same. old. stuff.
I’ve decided to adopt the practice of being thankful for the hard stuff, not just the easy, good stuff. I’ve often seen Sarah Reinhard posting #grateful tweet on Twitter. I intend to add some myself. On the hard stuff, whether or not I’m able to see it through my fallen, selfish perspective. So I can stop twisting away bent on my will, not His will and be grateful for gifts I don’t always recognize or understand.
Do you find it difficult to be grateful for the tough stuff? Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?