Friday, November 14, 2008

Gratitude


“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” - Meister Eckhart

Gratitude comes in so many forms. For me, it's the little things; like feeling my sons sheets in the morning and sighing with relief that he didn't soak the bed. Or when I look at my husband as he is cleaning and rearranging the refrigerator and loving that I never have to do it. Or when I can look up into the sky at night in my driveway and see the stars. And then there are moments when I realize I have not been grateful, and I hang my head in shame with the hope to be better.

I remember substitute teaching a lesson in primary at church where we read about Jesus healing the ten lepers in Luke 17:12-18. When I told the kids that only one person came back to thank Jesus their mouths dropped open in shock. One child said, "WHAT? Only ONE person came to thank him?" And then another sweet little 5 year old said, "don't they listen to their mommy when she says be nice?"

If we would all just listen to our mommies. But what if YOU ARE the mommy?
When we first moved here to Florida one month ago it was surreal. I had been an apartment manager for 3 years for a very difficult property. We also lived in that complex for those 3 years, and so I was on-call 24/7. The paperwork took hours, and it was a very time-consuming job to do with 2 children. I struggled with time, with fatigue, with raw emotions. I tried to be a good mom, a good wife, a good housekeeper, and when my photography business took off--I tried to be good at that too. Even though there was no time, I filled it, almost to a fault. But really, there wasn't a choice when it was my job and our home...and stress became a part of who I was. I didn't always like that about me, but it certainly made things interesting:)

With that said, our moving was more than just a move somewhere else. We would be replacing everything. We would be living in a house, not an apartment. I would not be working at all, when I had been working non-stop. We would be in a completely different side of the country, when I had grown to love the northwest and it was what I was accustomed to. It would all be so different, so new, so wonderful, and yet I was afraid of not knowing how to be that different.

When we arrived in Florida I was shocked. My house was awesome, and I could see why my hubby talked about the bathroom shower for an entire day on the phone. Our neighborhood was so cute with so many children for our kids to play with. We were greeted with an array of welcome home goods and meals from family and friends that live close by. And need I say I have a washer and dryer? No, the nostalgia has still not worn off. We are never without clean clothes. (see previous post)

And yet as the days ticked on after our arrival, I was frustrated and moody. We arrived early and our furniture arrived late, so we went awhile without our beds, our computer, our worldly possessions. Suddenly I wasn't only without a job, I was without anything. I felt lost and lonely and angry at times. I was impatient..wanting rooms to be furnished and beautiful now. When our worldly goods finally arrived, I was again impatient to unpack, but then after I did, I was still impatient because I wasn't happy until every room was completely perfect and painted and sheesh....writing this down sounds even worse:) I felt I couldn't be..unless I was doing something productive. And being just a mom and just a wife didn't seem to fit that bill.

And then one day I was riding in the car with Aaron and I expressed my unhappiness. I mean, WHY was I unhappy? I had been given everything I wanted. I had said, "if I wasn't working and I had some space and time to focus and a house and blah blah blah........then I would be happy." I was finally here... in that moment living that life. And so what was it? He said to me, "did you ever consider the fact that you are being ungrateful?"
Oh my gosh. I was. So ungrateful.
Remember Pres. Monson's talk this past General Conference? Enjoying the journey. Being thankful. We and our lives are not perfect, but we can be grateful.
Ahhhh..what a change of heart for me. My life isn't perfect, even with such tremendous blessings poured out upon me. I still struggle with my eccentric self. I am still annoyed that my house is not organized yet and that I don't know where to go for the best Sushi. But of one thing I am sure, I am grateful and I am enjoying the journey. And really, knowing that, is enough:)

5 comments:

dreNdrea said...

Thank you I really needed to hear that. Sometimes I find myself complaining about every thing that my husband does not do. I need to take time out and really be grateful for EVERYTHING that he does do...so Thank you!

Nick said...

what all guys think to themself when they read something like this is......"women, you just can't make them happy!!" don't tell jess i said that!!!! :) I'm just playing. Guys complain just as much, just about different things.

Sarah in the Middle said...

Good job, Carrie!
Our emotions are so confusing sometimes, aren't they? When we get what we thought we wanted, it isn't what we want now. You're right - the key is gratitude.
It's funny how things like stress and being overwhelmed - much as we don't like them - become part of who we are. And then when we finally don't have them, we feel lost without them.
Here's to rediscovering the non-stressed Carrie!

Jana Heller said...

thanks for that! i have been stomping around all weekend on the verge of tears, mad at my children for being messy, not listening to me and just being crazy all the time. when do i have time for myself away from them has been my most fervent thought. steven has been gone all weekend working on his calling and i thought i was going to go crazy. i prayed last night that i would be a better mother and then when i woke up this morning and steven said i have to go to ward council this morning i just thought to myself great, now i have to get everyone ready by myself! i thought i must be depressed. then i turned to my computer and read this and realized that i am so amazingly ungrateful. my children are healthy, i live in a nice house, we have good food, nice clothes, i don't have a lot of people to hang out with but i do have a wealth of people to talk to on the phone, i get to stay home with my children and watch them grow everyday. no matter how crazy i get i definitely have more than i lack. thanks again, you are a good women.

Adam L. said...

First of all, moving sucks! My condolences. But, congrats on the new house! I laughed when I read that Aaron told you to stop being ungrateful (well, those weren't exactly his words). I can totally picture Aaron saying that!

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