An Attitude of Gratitude

I’m almost 50.  Almost.  And I’ve learned a lot in the last almost 50 years.  Today’s lesson is on true gratitude.

See, I’ve called BS on this “Attitude of Gratitude” thing for most of my life.  I mean, I tried it and it didn’t work.  I’m still a bitter middle-aged man.  Bitter because “Nothing is working out the way I want it.”  I have craved 20 acres for most of my life, but I’m stuck in a house in the suburbs.  I figured I’d be an executive by now at my job, but I’m still not even a manager.  I figured I’d be jamming with my bass guitar on the weekends, but I pawned it 20 years ago and I’m delivering pizzas on the weekends.

So what the he!! do I have to be grateful for? <There’s one!>

Diddly S—t, right? <you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?  But SQUAT has five letters, not four!>

Then, about a month ago, people started telling me, “That’s not your job.  Why are you worried about it?”  “Can you do anything about the condition of your roof/driveway/siding/plumbing?  Why are you worried about it?”  “Are you getting fatter ‘cuz you eat four good meals a day?  Why are you complaining about not having the best cuts of beef?”

My wife – my lovely, wise partner in life – told me that I need to stop comparing myself to everyone else.  Most of our friends and neighbors work two jobs.  The only difference between them and me is that they don’t complain about it!

So I adopted an “I don’t give a sh-t about it” attitude.  Honestly, that’s how it translates to those outside of the cross.  And, that’s honestly how it started for me.  But as I began to apply Matthew 6:25-34 in my life, it began to look less like “F—– it all!” and more like the Serenity Prayer.  <again, you thought I was going to say something else.  FORGET has six letters, not four!>

Reinhold Neibuhr wrote: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Twelve-step programs use this to encourage their members to keep moving forward.  I figured out that “I don’t give a d–n” has biblical roots, when properly applied.

And by properly applied, that means giving credit to whom credit is due.

Throughout the Bible, believers are instructed to “Cast their burdens/cares upon the Lord” (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7 to name a couple).  I think I’ve finally learned how to do this.  “I can’t do anything about this.  Lord, You will take care of this in your time, somehow.  It’s not my job to worry about it.”  By doing this, I’ve accepted the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

And I’m grateful.  Yesterday I considered what to do for my 50th birthday party.  I decided we would just celebrate – the four of us – at my house with zero guests.  We can’t afford to bring anyone.  I was discouraged for a while.  Then I decided to thank God for what I have.  I have a roof over my head and it [still] keeps me dry.  I have cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter.  I have four squares a day.  I have two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife.

And I felt better.

I had cultivated an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

I finally figured it out.

My life isn’t suddenly better, but I’m content with where I am.  I keep striving to improve, but not because I am dissatisfied.  I keep striving to be a better man than what I was yesterday.

And somehow it’s all going to work out.  So I’m no longer bitter.

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