We all live in the real world – don’t we?
We work. We cook. We clean (some of us more than others.) We do laundry (again – some of us more than others). We wash dishes (so – so – so many dishes). We run errands. We care for our families. We pay our bills and our taxes (I hope). We do all of those mundane – often rather boring – or at least routine – tasks over and over again.
Some days I find myself wondering how many times I have washed the very plate or bowl I am currently holding in my hands. Actually – maybe I don’t really want to know. Jason and I purchased most of our dishes right after we got married 3,000 years ago. Our plates and bowls have seen a lot of use over the years. I have washed them many – many times. So many times . . .
I try to keep my perspective on all of these more mundane tasks I do each day. After all – they are a huge part of my daily life. If I hate them – then I am going to spend a whole lot of my life awfully miserable. I find a reality check from time to time really does help.
I remind myself I am blessed to have a vocation I love. Yes – I absolutely miss doing my job the “old” way. I am a Lutheran and change is hard for me. In fact – Jason occasionally needs to remind me that “change” is NOT actually a four-letter word. So I remind myself the new way is nice too. I have learned so much over the last 12 months and learning is fun (sometimes it is challenging – but fun). Learning new things also helps prevent things like dementia which is a huge genetic threat in my family of origin!
When I am cleaning our house for what feels like the millionth time that week. I remind myself I am cleaning a house with a furnace that blows warm air into my world all day – every day. Seriously – think about that for a moment. My home has a heat source in the basement that requires NOTHING of me except that I push a little button on the wall to make it turn on (and pay the gas bill). I don’t have to go outside and chop down trees and gather wood. I have never – ever burned a dried buffalo or cow patty for heat either. But our foremothers and forefathers did. I do not have to work hard to keep toasty warm on these cold winter days.
I can’t find any exact research on the temperatures inside homes before central heating – but I do read a lot. Many books anecdotally talk about being able to see your breath inside the house/cabin in the mornings before the fire was going or about waking to frost or even snow on the bedcovers. I have never been able to see my breath inside our house – not even when our furnace broke in December a few years ago and we had to wait 10 days for the new furnace to be installed!
I may not love going to the grocery store (I do not particularly enjoy any shopping other than yarn shopping) – but it is so much easier than being a hunter-gatherer. Seriously – sometimes I laugh at myself for complaining about having to go to the grocery store – because it sounds so ridiculous when I think about it. I am whining about having to get my food all from the same place at the same time where it has been carefully displayed and kept at the proper temperature so that my family and I don’t get sick when we eat it! It takes me about 2 hours a week to hunt and gather the food for my family . . . That sounds way more like a blessing than a burden when I put it into writing.
One of the nicest ways I keep my perspective is I give thanks for the blessings in the moment. Seriously – I try to see the blessings in the moment as I am living it. No – I don’t do this all of the time. I am a real – honest to goodness human being. (Wow – am I human . . . ) This is just one way I try to remember how blessed I really and truly am. This is one way I try to appreciate and give thanks for my blessings from God.
It really can change your perspective or at least it changes my perspective.
All of those dishes in the sink mean I do not live alone. I will give thanks for the blessing of my beloved family.
Making yet another breakfast/lunch/supper. I will give thanks for the healthy growing sons who make food disappear at such a rapid rate. I will also give thanks for the incredible abundance of safe – healthy – nutritious food in my home. I think we forget just how blessed we are by the safety and variety of the food we all have access to each and every day of our lives. Those of us who grow gardens grow them because it is fun. If our gardens fail – no one will be deprived of vegetables. Life will go on.
Heat. Wow am I grateful not to have to heat my home the way our ancestors did. Seriously – we are rarely actually uncomfortable in our homes these days.
The size of our homes. Have you ever toured a settler’s cabin? Those cabins were often the size of most our living rooms or smaller! Imagine spending the last year/your entire life in a space that size with your entire family. . . I try to give thanks for the incredible blessing of my home. Even though – we have spent so very much time inside these four walls these last few winter-y months – our homes are incredible blessings.
That not at all fancy smartphone I have is so seriously cool. It allows me to communicate with the rest of the world whenever I want. Instead of complaining that my phone isn’t as awesomely cutting edge as it might be – I delight in what it allows me to do. I am strange (yeah – you totally knew that already) and perfectly content with a phone that is almost as old as Will is.
It is easy to feel discontent. It is so easy to long for more or for something new or for something different and exciting. After all – we live in a society in which we are constantly bombarded with advertising. And the singular goal of all of that advertising is to make us discontent and unhappy with what we already have. Advertising wants us to long for more and more and more. To believe what we have isn’t enough. It brainwashes us into thinking what we have isn’t good enough. It tricks us into believing what we already have is junk. That we can’t be happy with the blessings we already have.
Or worst of all – it blinds us entirely to the blessings we already have! It fills us with longing and discontentment.
Advertising and marketing take advantage of that longing that fills our hearts. And advertisers are masterful at doing their jobs.
I try to stop and give thanks for my blessings over and over again each day.
Giving thanks for my blessings helps me appreciate the blessings I have so very much more. Noticing and giving thanks helps me see the blessings I already have. I feel so much happier and more content and more blessed. When I give thanks for the blessings I have – I begin to see other blessings too. It is like the blessings begin to multiply. Of course – the blessings were there all along . . . I just wasn’t noticing them.
I suggest you give this a try today. As you go about your daily life give thanks for your blessings as you encounter them. Be on the lookout for blessings. Put “blessings-spin” on your daily life and tasks.
Instead of seeing that millionth supper you are about to prepare for your family as an annoyance look for the blessings in it. The fact that you have food to prepare for your family – that is a blessing. That the food you are about to prepare is safe and will not make you ill – blessing. The safe – abundant – clean water you will use (too often even without thinking about it) as you prepare your meal and clean it up – that is a huge blessing. The safe ways our food is preserved like in freezers and refrigerators – blessing. Yes – I do actually do this. It can be fun.
It can make cleaning – laundry – making supper way more interesting. It can make these activities prayerful – thoughtful – thankful – blessed.
Give it a try. You might just uncover some unexpected and truly delightful blessings and a whole new way at looking at that pile of laundry and those breakfast dishes!
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –