Tuesday, July 17, 2012

a lesson in gratitude.

This morning I woke up after a delightful sleepover with some friends and enjoyed a breakfast of poptarts and a brownie. I drove home in my car and stepped into my air-conditioned house. I got on one of our computers and enjoyed some time on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I layed on my bed and finished a book. I sat at our piano and played hymns out of a piano book that my friend got me for my birthday. I stood in the kitchen with tear-filled eyes because I had been thinking about the people that I miss...

I miss being in Memphis with Bethany. I miss being in Memphis with Josh, Danielle, and my sweet nephew, Harvey. I miss being in China with Josh, Danielle, Harvey, and their team. I miss being at conference with Rachel, Leah, DP, Aaron, Johnny, Elijah, Lydia, Chloe, Bekah, Thomas, Meredith, Wilby, etc. etc. I miss the good times at the Surge outreach with everyone. I miss having sleepovers with Rachel. I miss going to Katelyn's house and consuming unhealthy amounts of food. I miss soccer games with Sarah. I miss the days when my brother, Joseph, was in high school and we ate lunch together every day. I miss the good times I had visiting Jordan and Ashley for a weekend. I miss spending the weeks around Christmas at Granma and Grandaddy's house with Hope and Grace.

I digress.

I held back the tears and helped Mom make dinner. Dad brought home 4 kids that live in the projects to eat with us. They come from a single-parent home and have no air conditioning in their house. Some of them are going to Mountain Top in the next couple of weeks, but the oldest didn't have enough clothes for a week at camp. My dad found 4 tshirts that he could have. We ate spaghetti, salad, watermelon, cake, and ice cream, and had plenty of leftovers. My dad shared a devotion with us from Philippians 4:6-9. He explained that Philipi was in Asia and that Asia was a continent. None of the 4 kids could name a single continent. We put dishes in the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen. I went to my room where there were two nicely folded stacks of clothes that my mom had kindly washed and dried for me. I put them into my closet. I added the tshirts to the shelf that already held over 40 (no exaggeration). I hung up a dress and some nice shirts. I took my car to an auto shop so that the air conditioning can get fixed in the morning. I came home and sat in our nice basement on the large couch with my parents and watched a movie on our TV. I told my parents goodnight and went to my room. Soon I will do my devotions and fall asleep in my warm, comfortable bed.

As I thought through all of these things, suddenly so much that had be going through my mind became so much less relevant. The fact that I'm not sure if I'll get into UNC and the fact that I only own one pair of Nike running shorts and the fact that my car's air conditioning and radio are broken and the fact that I miss my friends didn't seem to matter as much anymore. I don't think it's bad that I want to go to UNC and I don't think it's bad that I like running shorts and I don't think it's bad that I don't find it pleasant to ride down the road with my back drenched in sweat and I certainly don't think it's bad that I miss my friends. But what I do think is bad is that while I'm over here hoping to get into UNC I've forgotten that there are people who can't go to UNC because they haven't had the good education I've had and they don't have the funds that I have. While I'm over here wishing I had more Nike running shorts I have forgotten that there are people who don't have a single pair of shorts, much less Nike. While I'm over here complaining about no air condition in my car I have forgotten that there are people with no air condition in their house and no car at all. While I'm over here missing my friends (that I can talk to on a regular basis) I have forgotten that there are people who don't have the good friends that I do.

Instead of being thankful for the things that I do have, I spend way too much time wishing for things that I don't have.

Today I learned a lesson. In the seemingly mundane and typical goings-on of my day, I learned a lesson in the importance of gratitude.

I saw this on Pinterest the other day and thought it was fitting for this post.