Turning my frown upside-down

It's only natural to be in a rut from time to time. To just feel kind of funky - and not in a hip, groovy kind of way, but more like an "I think my armpits stink" kind of way.   I don't like feeling this way, but sometimes it just happens.  Life can be tiresome.  And sometimes it gets you down.

And then...something happens that snaps you right out of it.

For me, it was the fact that in just a matter of days a friend at church noticed that her nine-year-old son's hand wasn't gripping as tightly as it usually does, took him to the doctor with a suspected nerve injury, got an MRI on his brain, discovered a tumor, and headed off to Memphis so that some of the best doctors in the world could operate on her precious little boy's brain.

I heard the news and I looked at my seven year old Ben.  I tried to imagine for one second what it must be like for her to hear those words about her little boy.  And, quite frankly, I just couldn't stop the tears. 

It was all too sobering to hear the news, because, when I heard it, I was in the middle of pitching a hissy-fit about photo calendars that I was attempting to build online.  In an instant, I was humbled.  How dare I complain about something so insignificant as bad customer service and shoddy technical support?  This woman just found out that her son's fragile brain had a tumor inside of it that was affecting his motor skills.

Her little boy.

I know that life will probably re-consume me at some point and it will take another sobering reminder to snap me back out of it.  Because that is one of my shortcomings.  I am selfish.  We all are.  And, inevitably, I'm going to start thinking about all of my own "problems" and my focus will be on me.

But for now, I'm going to be grateful.

I'm going to quit my grumblings.  After all, it is Thanksgiving in just one week.

Apparently, even in the midst of trying to cultivate a spirit of gratitude, life and the creepy, sneaky world come and steal me away.

Not tonight.

Tonight, I'm going to thank God for my burdens - because given a little perspective, I bet every single one of them is a blessing in disguise.

Thank you, God, for the endless cycles of loading and unloading the dishwasher because it means I had food to eat and dishes to eat it on.

Thank you, God, for the endless piles of laundry because it means my family and I have clothes to wear.  More than enough clothes to wear.

Thank you, God, for shoddy customer service and tech support because it makes me appreciate the good customer service that much more.

Thank you, God, for the days that are monotonous at work because even when the hours are long I still have the job.  And that is so much more than so many have.

Thank you, God, for the seemingly obnoxious opinions of people who think differently than me because I live in a country where the freedom to voice our opinion is a valued, protected, and fought for privilege.

Thank you, God, for the nights when I feel like my patience is completely shot and bedtime can't come fast enough because I learn each time that I am wrong.  There is always just a little bit more inside of me if I dig deeper.

Thank you, God, for the times that my kids face ridicule and I can't protect them from it because it helps their skin grow thicker and it helps them learn how to handle adversity.  And it helps me learn that I can't always protect them, and they're doing just fine on their own.

Thank you, God, for all of those deductions from our paychecks each month because they provide our family with amazing health coverage, hope for the future, and the fulfillment of a civic duty (okay, the last one is a stretch).

Thank you, God, for the dirt and stains on my kids' clothes because it means they spent the day exploring the great outdoors, enjoying food, and just...being kids.

Thank you, God, for the smudges on my mirrors and appliances because it means I have the eyesight to see them and the itty-bitty, greasy-fingered companions to put them there.

Thank you, God, for instability in the job market because it makes me grateful for each day that I continue to be employed.

Thank you, God, for any and all of the disagreements I have had with my husband these past eight years because they are over.  And we're stronger for having gotten through them.

Thank you, God, for the utility bill because it means I have the luxury of using my air conditioning and heat when I need them.

Thank you, God, for the laugh lines that seem to be taking over my face as the years pass because they indicate that I have laughed hard and often.

Thank you, God, for our "broken health care system" because despite what people say about it, it finds tumors and saves lives like precious Mac's every day.  

I could probably go on, but for real, I'm thankful for sleep.  And I need some.

I do have a favor to ask of you out there in blog land.  If you would, please pray for Mac and his sweet family as they go through the next few days.  His surgery is over, but there is no telling what the future holds for them.  I am so humbled by the outpouring of love and prayers they have received in the past 12 hours alone.  If there's one message it's that God is good.  All the time.

Thank you so much for your readership and your prayers.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you.


Sharon Kirby said...

Jennie - I will certainly keep Mac and his family in my prayers. What a sobering set of circumstances. It is such a difficult world sometimes. And yet, the overarching truth, the comfort above all else - God is good, all the time.

Thanks for sharing this - I believe old "Blog Land" has some prayer warriors out here! And the prayers will be flying up to God!


(p.s. Are you feeling OK? Been thinking about you...)

Denise said...

What a wonderful reminder that we should ALWAYS be thankful every day, not just during Thanksgiving. Thanks Jennie for this wonderful post. I have, and will continue to pray for Mac and his family. (He is currently the fourth child on my prayer list. I will not forget him).

Hoping to see you and your family during the holiday....

Debbie said...

Jennie, I came early this morning and read this. (Could not sleep). I have been thinking about it since, and I WILL pray for Mac and his family.

My dear friend and neighbor is a nurse married to a doctor. She sees a LOT of suffering, but when she sees a child, even she can't get past the heartbreak. She always tells me about it with the same comment:

"Deb, we don't have a problem..."

I really did enjoy your thanksgiving list. I'm not sure I can muster the oompahs to be thankful for our deductions. I'll try, but the BIG increase in premium was a huge hit for us this year.

But, if you can do it so will I.

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