By Cara Turner
This morning my pounding head woke me up. (No, not a hangover.) I am pretty sure it is from lack of sleep. My oldest got bitten by a stomach bug, and was up all night retching, and I was the designated hair holder and back rubber. When I did manage to roll out of bed, my knees were killing me. Arthritis and a new exercise routine have sent my knees into protest mode. Creaking and cracking my way to the bathroom, I almost stepped on a present our new puppy Freckles left for me. Complain, complain, complain.
This is not the way I want to start my Sunday. We all have a long list of things about which to complain. Some are minor like the ones I just wrote; others are more serious. Like,
- My cousin’s wife is battling breast cancer.
- A friend of mine has a child with Cystic Fibrosis and they subscribe to specific routine just to keep his lungs from filling up with fluid.
- Two wonderful ladies I know lost their husband’s unexpectedly, and are raising their kids alone.
- A friend is going through a painful divorce—starting over is tough.
- A mother at our school lost her baby in her 9th
- My aunt and uncle buried their second child a few months ago.
- Another friend—mother of three young children—was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
These are sorrows. These are the events that fill my prayer jar. I once read a comment by Michael J. Fox, who suffers with Parkinson’s disease. He said, no one gets out of this world pain-free. We all have something.
So, I wanted to flip my whining on its head, and show some gratitude. After all, research shows that being grateful for the things in our lives makes us healthier people (Emmons, 2007; Branigan, 2000; McGraty et.al, 1998). People with an attitude of gratitude have lower levels of stress hormones in their bodies, they spend more hours exercising, and reported fewer physical ailments (my knees need my spirit of gratitude). So, here’s my brief list for the day.
- I am grateful that my husband came home safely from a weeklong business trip abroad.
- I am grateful that I get to kiss my children every morning.
- I am grateful my children attend a good school with loving teachers.
- I am grateful my family has enough extra money to go on a vacation this year.
- I am grateful that I am able to swim and walk (and see and hear and breathe).
- I am grateful our family has health insurance.
- I am grateful that my backyard did not flood with all the rain we had this week.
- I am grateful that I never have to do a Flat Stanley project ever again.
- I am grateful for the king-size bed that last night fit two kids, two dogs and myself (my husband moved out of the zoo onto the den couch).
- I am grateful for clean, running water and flushing toilets (even if my kids forget to do it).
I already feel my stress receding and have a strange desire to go swim some laps. So what are you grateful for today?