Monday, October 10, 2011
About a week ago, I shared with some longtime friends that I realized that sometimes I think that I am entitled to less suffering than I have, that I am entitled to something other, something else. This awareness came during a communion service we had at our church the Sunday prior.
It is true that some of the things our family has to deal with are fairly significant and require a good deal of energy. But it is not true that this is too much. It is not true that we deserve anything other than this. And it is not true that hardship or suffering is not for our good.
The fact that I actually consider how much suffering or hardship I have tells me that I haven't had the right mindset about it. Who does a tally of how much they suffer if they are content with whatever they have? Kind of an eye opener.
I have spent some time praying about this and asking the Lord to help me to change the way I think about this so I will not live entitled to something other and only endure hardship. It is interesting how my prayers are answered.
Early last week my back went out. I couldn't sleep at night. There was no position that brought relief. Nausea decided to join in the fun as well. I decided that in this pain, I was going to try to be gracious, not grumpy. I asked God to help me to this end. Here I was suffering physically and I was given the opportunity to do more than endure this pain. Here was something smaller than the bigger challenges we've faced, sort of a practice session if you will. Now what would I do with it?
Well, I have to say that more often than not, I was able to choose graciousness instead of grumpiness...not always, to be sure, but more often than not. A beautiful thing happened. As I walked (or lay down) through the week intentionally keeping this goal in mind, I enjoyed things I likely wouldn't have otherwise; I appreciated the humour I found in the nurses and doctor when I spent time at Urgent Care getting my back checked out; I valued the quietness as I looked out my window at the changing leaves on the trees; I was thankful for the medication given that worked fairly well, offering me relief from time to time; I was so thankful for a husband who was up at night with me when I was in so much pain and came home from work early to cook supper; I was thankful for praying friends and family. There is more but I'm sure you get the idea. There could have been more than there was but at least there was more than what would have been had I not realized my mindset of entitlement.
Gratitude takes my eyes off of me and allows me to see goodness. Gratitude takes me from enduring to enjoying. I guess I can actually say I am thankful for my back pain because it has taught me something important that speaks into my life.