Friday, May 30, 2008

Turning Gripes into Gratitude

The past few weeks, okay who am I kidding, months really, I’ve noticed a lot of people – myself included – complaining about this or that. Sometimes it is their work schedule or their family life or the fact that their kids who used to sleep through the night have suddenly forgotten that skill (guilty on that one here). These things are valid and understandable – as long as we don’t allow them to take over our whole attitude. This is where things get dangerous.

This is a hard time of year for the CG. With so many of our men and women transferring to new locations at the same time, a lot of extra work is left to those remaining at their current unit. This means extra duties, longer hours and more time away from family. The kids are out of school and the mom left at home is now a part-time single mom more often than before with more responsibility to entertain and feed the children more hours of the day. Then you can add in the summer deployment schedule and there go weeks or months away from home without two parents. Sure, this happens year round, but it’s often harder in the summers due to family vacations and the fun outdoor activities we love to enjoy. Many times the non-AD spouse is left to do these activities alone with their children.

Our AD counterparts also start griping about the same issues. They want to be there with their family and not miss out on the fun, but their career, this country, needs them to be there to do their job and protect our great nation and its citizens. They have more responsibility and seemingly less time to get it all done. Add all of this together and you will find a very stressful situation.

When I gave birth to my daughter, my mom gave me a book of weekly devotionals for moms. I have picked it up once or twice and read one devotion and set it aside. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to truly set one morning a week to read a devotion. It’s amazing the timing of these in relation to what I’m going through. I have been moved to tears 3 out of 4 times. Last weeks really got me thinking; it was about turning our tribulations into thanksgivings. I realized I have been griping a lot these past few weeks – alright, months! I asked myself what I could be thankful for at times like this.

Here is part of my list:

  • I have a husband who supports me in my decisions, whether personal or affecting our family.
  • My children can warm my heart with just a smile, hug, laugh or squeal – even when they whine the entire rest of the day.
  • My husband has built a career that provides for us and allows us to move around the country AND GET PAID TO DO IT. This allows us to learn more about the different cultures and areas of our nation.
  • While I’ve always been fairly independent, I have learned that I CAN do this! I am a military wife, I can do ANYTHING!
  • I have met so many amazing women to call friends even if I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting them in real life. This is through spouse networks online and at various duty stations. Some of these friends have even become family.

So, I challenge you, when your spouse calls to tell you that instead of coming home today, he has to head out unexpectedly for a case and he may be able to make it home tomorrow, be thankful they are able to help someone and pray for their safety. When your spouse comes home from work late after doing her job and that of 3 others and is tired and cranky, to wrap your arms around her and tell him thank you and you understand his frustration (and maybe a nice cold drink or a glass of wine would help too). When you have to take one kid to swimming lessons, one to day camp, the other to soccer and end the day with a family trip to the beach all the while doing it on your own, remember you CAN do this! And the bonus is that you won’t have to do it forever.

*****

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

- Melodie Beattie

3 comments:

Amber said...

What interesting timing for your post. As I've been closing out the day in prayer each day, I've been really wanting to lament about my current single-mom status. I've been making myself, though, count my blessings. It really makes a huge difference.

The truth is, we do have so much to be thankful for. Thanks for the reminder. <3

Just a Girl in a Port said...

What a lovely reminder. It's hard sometimes to grit our teeth and be thankful, but truthfully we have so much for which to be grateful.

Here's to hoping I'll be able to tap into that gratefulness today when I get a phone call from a man I'm missing.

Elizabeth said...

That's a beautiful quote at the end. Thank you for reminding us of the simple things.