Do you sometimes want to enjoy life’s blessings, but feel too overwhelmed by the laundry piles, the sticky kitchen floor, the list of To Dos in your head, the screaming baby, the toddler in an explosive diaper he’s refusing to let you change, the scraps of paper scattered all over the floor from craft time, and the clock relentlessly pressing on toward dinner time?
At times like these it’s likely my adoring daughter will look up at me with pleading eyes and say “Mommy, will you play dolls with me?”
Delayed Gratification or Delayed Gratitude?
When I was a young girl my grandfather took me out for seafood. I don’t remember the event, but I remember the story he told about it ever after.
I ordered a plate full of boiled shrimp and I peeled every single one before I took a bite. My grandfather marveled at the display of delayed gratification from such a young person.
The trouble is, my early grasp of delayed gratification has turned into a serious case of delayed gratitude.
- I want to change all the poopy diapers before I enjoy the cuddly baby.
- I want to finish cleaning the house before I play dolls with my daughter.
- I want to resolve all the differences with my husband before I enjoy our marriage.
- I want to wash all the dishes before I enjoy the meal.
I want to peel all the shrimp in life before I start to eat, but that will only get me a rotten pile of shrimp and a heart full of resentment.
When Will I Be Happy?
Up until a month ago we lived as a family of six in a three-room apartment – not three bedrooms – three small rooms, a kitchen, and bath. Our fridge was smaller than the fridge I had in my college dorm.
As we prepared to move into our very own house with more than twice the space and nearly three-times more fridge-space (and it’s still half the size of an American fridge!), I told myself that if I’m not happy then, I will never be happy.
Guess what? I’m still overwhelmed! There are still dishes to do, the kids still make messes, and my husband and I still have our differences.
The Ugly and the Beautiful
Directly across the street from us is where a dozen households dump their trash all week for collection day. That’s the view from our kitchen window, but I don’t notice it. Why?
Behind the garbage containers is our neighbor’s backyard. They have a beautifully manicured miniature palace-garden.
When I look out our kitchen window my eyes are drawn to the garden, not the dump.
Happiness Is A Choice
No matter what your situation, there will always be the ugly and the beautiful.
Will you focus on the garden, or the dump?
No matter what your situation, there will always be work to be done.
Will you peel your shrimp in resentment, or will you feast with thankfulness?