A Posture of Gratitude
Wednesday November 21, 2018
About 8 months ago, I was caught in the perfect storm: creaky old floors, sticky doors, a highly-sensitive sleeping newborn, and two severely sleep-deprived new parents. Every time we’d lay Haley down to sleep, no matter how gingerly we’d tiptoe out of the room, we’d inevitably catch a squeaky floorboard just on our way out, promptly startling the little nugget out of her shallow sleep and leaving us frustrated and deliriously tired. The very things I loved about our home - the original 1920’s structure, the character of the antique brass knobs, the beautifully aged hardwood - felt like menaces to our sleep and sanity. And every time we’d visit a friend’s house with brand new doors or laminate floors, the longing for something “better” (for more, for different) surreptitiously grew in my heart.
It was like I’d slipped on a pair of glasses that tinted my reality with a haze of ungratefulness. Everything about our sweet cottage, so lovingly and pristinely preserved over the last century, became - to put it eloquently - utterly annoying.
Ugh the insulation in this house is terrible; don’t you feel the draft from the windows?
Our kitchen is SO tiny. We need more space.
I cannot handle this lack of storage!! There’s clutter everywhere because I don’t know where to put anything!
Grumble, grumble, grumble. So much discontentment about a home that, just a few months prior, I was singing praises about to anyone who’d listen. A home that landed in our laps at the exact moment we needed one. A home we were so grateful to bring our baby girl into. A home whose tiny front porch with a view of the mountains was all I’d ever wanted. A home whose lush front lawn offers the perfect place for our pup to run freely. A home whose backyard rests in the embrace of the most majestic oak tree, whose mustard yellow door and electric magenta bougainvillea literally light up my day.
A home we promised to steward well, to joyfully spend the first two years of our lives as a family of three, to generously open up to friends and family despite its tiny square footage.
Our hearts are so prone to complaining, to coveting, when we aren’t anchored by gratitude. Without contentment, our cars will always be too old, our homes too small, our closets too limited, our vacations too humble. There are no perfect circumstances, only the willingness to recognize, with thanksgiving, that our cups run over with the things that matter. Undoubtedly, there are seasons of deep sorrow - of loss or failing health, of unbearable stress - but almost always we’ll see the tiniest of flowers budding between the cracks. It’s the promise of redemption: things fall apart so better things can come together.
This Thanksgiving, I hope that you’re surrounded by loved ones in the warmth of an inviting home, that despite the brokenness of families and the losses we may have experienced this year, we can gladly gather for the sake of togetherness, of shouldering the joys and pains of this life for one another. May our bellies be full and our hearts fuller.