I’m a whiner. I have a tendency to complain about discomforts big and small. Really. You have no idea.
I’m too hot.
My Achilles tendon hurts.
My jeans don’t fit.
The carpet’s dirty again.
I have to cook dinner again.
And, believe me, I’ve also complained about the bigger things in life. The terrain of my life has been shaped by divorce, death, infertility, financial strains, cancer, adoption, and other stuff so crazy you might not believe me if I told you. How is that fair?
But now, I’m forty-five. I’m old enough to (almost!) need reading glasses, yet I see more clearly than I have ever before. I’ve climbed the rocky terrain of my life and find I can see farther than I could before I needed contact lenses to see the television screen.
No matter what trial or tragedy I have faced, someone has experienced something worse.
It’s hard to quantify sorrow and loss. Is the death of my 47-year old dad worse than the loss of your elderly grandpa? Is the heartbreak of miscarriage worse than the despair of infertility? Is is really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Is my pain worse than yours?
All I have to do is listen and look to see that no one is exempt from pain. We all suffer.
I’m ashamed of my petty complaints when I consider the widowed young mom, the battered wife, the parents who bury their children, the displaced families in Third World countries, the mothers who have no clean water for their children, the men who cannot provide for their children, people who struggle with physical ills, kids who grow up with black eyes instead of love . . . the list is endless.
And I have a family who is safe in our suburban home. I share my life with a husband who works hard and considers our family first. My car will not break down tomorrow and if I want to, I can go to the grocery store and buy whatever strikes my fancy. Our roof doesn’t leak. I can wash endless loads of laundry in my fancy high-efficiency machines. My kids are all safe and healthy under our roof.
I am aware of unmerited blessings and I am grateful.