Sunday, January 13, 2008

An Encouraging Word

I have to do something for four hours today that I really don't want to do. There are many productive or relaxing things I could spend that time on.

Yesterday morning as I walked Dusty, the hard-core complaining began. Why me? Can't/won't someone else do it? But I DON'T WANT TO! (What a baby, I know...) I offered a rosary for my attitude. I asked Mary to help me follow her example, but I was still grumpy with all signs that this situation was going to be allowed to ruin my whole weekend.

Then I went to my #1 sounding board. I needed to say my ugly thoughts aloud and complain to someone who wouldn't think less of me because of them. Len did listen and told me mostly what I'd already told myself: I needed to do this; I could offer it as a prayer; etc. He had several true, rational things to say, which didn't help my attitude, but I hadn't expected more than empathy anyway.

But wait--he had even more to offer! Yes, the encouraging word. Something like, "When you persevere graciously, I see how good it is for the whole family." And, "If one of the kids broke an arm right now, you'd drop everything and go to the hospital and deal with it and not be upset about wasted time."

This might sound funny, but it was a big help. First of all, he made it sound like there are times when I actually do graciously persevere. So he offered hope. (It's so easy to lose sight of the good times when I'm in a funk.) And the bit about the broken arm might sound overblown to you, but it did make me realize that I can prioritize and be less possessive of my time, more giving. I knew it was true, and that makes it easier to see that I can make someone else a priority in smaller things, too. Like the other night when Becca was feverish and upset and I got up from dinner to change and settle her in bed. I wasn't mad or resentful--I did what needed doing, and was glad to help my girl. So it is possible for me to spend my time today with a good attitude. Maybe no one will even realize I'd rather not be there. That would actually make it a better gift to "offer up"--cheerfullness instead of resentment.

I'm no goody-goody. My talk with Len was the beginning of an attitude adjustment. But I'm so grateful that in addition to listening, he was able to offer encouragement, and make me believe that I can (because I have before, so there!) do this thing with grace. Prayer is helpful, but so is a friend who understands me.

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