Generally speaking, we love where we live. That reality is a profoundly gracious gift of God in my life. It is, without any doubt, a gift. There is very little, in my natural bent, that would draw me to the place where we've thrived for these past few years. Yet, I can steadily maintain that it has been a place of tremendous bounty for us.
The truth is though, as the grief of this loss is processed and the time comes to push forward, a general relief washing over me. I won't miss everything here. The stares. The bulky clothing. The blazing heat. The crazy traffic. The confined spaces. The grocery store shoving. The demands of the culture. The multitude of languages. The cheek pinchers. The smells. Oh, the smells.
With an August departure on the horizon, I admit that more than a little negativity is creeping into my heart and flying out of my mouth. It is reminding me that one of the reasons we can say this was a place of bounty is that, very early on, the Father put a strong conviction in my heart that I would do better not to speak out with every annoyance and frustration. Honest processing can be a clever cover for a complaining spirit. I certainly haven't done that perfectly, but the warnings from those Old Testament Israelites has been very present in my mind. Grumbling brings all kinds of grief.
This weekend the heat was up, the kids were wild, the uncertainty of all kinds of details in these next few months was weighing heavy. My house helper quit. Hubs was flying out on a trip. I just couldn't seem to break out of it. A conversation came to mind that I had not long ago with dear, Laurin, who's had her share of transitions and pressing details.
She reminded me recently of the very simple antidote to complaint: thanksgiving.
Name those blessings one by one. Speak out gratitude until it takes root in your heart and mind. Look at that fussing baby, who just happened to pour milk all over the floor, and give thanks for eyes to dry and a floor to clean. When that tiny Asian lady pushes right in front of you in the grocery, give thanks for the money to buy the food. When the work feels too much, give thanks for the work to do and put your head down to get it done, with gratitude not complaint.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
See what God has done.