Even as I write this I can hear a collective groan from my fellow Michiganders. But not me! As I sat and watched the season spit its first fat flakes, my heart pranced giddy.
I love the snow. I love the cold. I love the winters we get here in Michigan, full of icicles, mittens, rosy cheeks, roaring fires, and hot chocolate.
“The only reason you love the snow is because you don’t have to work in it like I do,” my husband said, already shivering to his core.
He has a point. I don’t have to work in the snow, as he does throughout the winter. On most days I don’t even have to leave our house if I don’t want to.
“It’s true,” I said. “I live a privileged life.”
In the days that followed, as I remembered this conversation, the thought crossed my mind: When it comes to life in North America, by comparison, don’t we all live a privilege life?
Note: I did not say our lives are easy. Or comfortable. Or Pollyanna perfect.
But when we look at our homes, our cars, our clothes, the food on our tables, and the water that runs through our pipes, what do we have to complain about?
Yet despite all I have been granted, I know I do an awful lot of complaining throughout my days. I may not complain about the snow but I still find my own list of annoyances to groan and gripe about.
Last month a friend of mine determined that for thirty days she would take a picture of something she was thankful for and post it on Facebook. This idea got me thinking.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, why not make November a Complain-Free Month of Thanks where in place of complaining, my thoughts, my words, my heart, reflect the things for which I am thankful?
I recently wrote a post about how we don’t have time to fight, but only time to love. I’m learning that the same is true of giving thanks. We haven’t been given this day, this time, this season, to complain it away, always wishing for something different, something more, (or less in the case of the snow.) Our days, this moment, this season is laden heavy with gifts, with blessings, and the only correct response is a heart, a tongue filled with thanks.
Because here’s the thing: All those things we complain about, the snow, the traffic, the annoying lady in line at the post office, were given to us, placed in our lives by the very hand of God. The same God that tells us throughout scripture to do everything without grumbling and complaining. The same God that tells us in ALL things give thanks.
“You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies- though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet [God’s] beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade
Sweet friends, we don’t have time, or room, or reason in our lives to complain, only time to give thanks. Because what more is being thankful than saying “Yes,” to God? What more is being thankful than opening our hearts, our lives to him and all that he gives?
Thanksgiving can change a life. Thanksgiving can change everything.
Even in the snow. Even in the cold, and the hard, and all things harsh and biting, we can exchange our complaints for words of thanks. We can offer up our privileged lives with not just a day, a month, or a season but a lifetime of thanksgiving.
Won’t you join me? What are you thankful for this day? In what ways can you replace complaints with thanks? I’d love to hear from you!
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends. May it last a lifetime!