Are you a griper? Not sure if griper is a word but I know the sentiment. I think it’s easy to gripe in our society. Maybe it has to do with how blessed we are. Most of us have food to eat, have a roof over our heads, and generally compared to many in the world are hugely blessed beyond imagination.
For a while it was the whole comparison of who has the biggest house or car or highest paying job – the oh so loved keeping up with the Jones’. But these days it seems that it’s who’s got the worst life or the most to complain about any given day. Who’s having the worst day ever? I love social networking – facebook, twitter, etc. and I’m glad that people can share with each other and lift each other up. I think it’s an awesome community thing and heck there’s a lot of pastoral care out there. I’m unsure though if we’re noticing the line between venting and griping.
Griping. That negativity. That dissatisfaction. That yuck is contagious. If enough people complain about something, it becomes the reality for those people and it’s just an open festering wound without any hope of repair or restoration. What good does it do to gripe? Does it make you feel better? Why? In my lovely little defensive driving class Vicki Reavis said something that has stuck with me – you can’t control the other car. You can’t control what the other person does. But you can control how you react to it. You can control what you do. So when that person steals your parking space and you had your blinker on or doesn’t give you the courtesy thank you wave or goes super slow in the fast lane or drives in “stealth” mode with no blinkers or cutting you off in traffic – you can’t control them – but you can make sure it doesn’t get under your skin and shape your day.
The thing is – if we believe in a Savior – a God with us, if we truly believe that this Teacher that came and walked among us really calls us to this new life….if we really believe that – than we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I loved seeing people’s thanksgiving facebook statuses. It was fun to read what people are thankful for. I wonder how easy/hard it would be to keep up that practice all year long? Could you come up with 1 or 2 or 3 things to be thankful for every day? If you had the discipline to do that, would that change the way you see the world? Would you appreciate things or look for things to be thankful for in a different way if your eyes were open and watching for them?
Don’t go down the griping road. Just like on Dora the Explorer – Swiper, no swiping! and in life Griper, no griping! Vent. Get it off your chest. Verbalize it. But don’t let it ruin your day and rule your life. Look around you – these beautiful trees changing from Autumn to Winter; the expectant and crazy anticipation of Christmas in the eyes of a child; the mighty wind blowing through the trees. God has provided for us everything that we need.
Check out Chris August’ Starry Night. I love this song. If we believe this, we won’t be griping. We’ll be praising.
So even on this cloudy day during the last full week of classes when students are swamped completely and are trying to figure out how in the world they will get everything done – may they get the strength that they need, may the keep going in perseverance, may they get restorative rest even on little sleep, may they find time in the day they didn’t know they had, may they have wisdom in scheduling their time, and may they know and feel the love and grace and peace of God surrounding them!