You are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. — C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
It was a terrific weekend full of walks and friends and crunching fall leaves. With sunshine at our backs and blue skies and warm bread and butter to share at the table. It was also — like most weekends — full of not enough sleep, a bit too much TV, and bickering. And I took the cake on the arguing. A clean house, or a hike in the woods, or a good meal can’t make up for a preoccupied heart.
I have plenty of circumstances that I like to point the finger at: my baby who was gassy and therefore didn’t sleep from 4am onwards unless she was lying on top of me; my too-long to-do list which includes sewing Halloween costumes all this week; trying to eek out dinners before the next paycheck. But essentially the problem isn’t my circumstances, it’s me. Me, grasping and grasping to be appreciated, needed, loved, respected. Fill in the blank.
And when I keep grasping, my fingers just close tighter on nothing, and anger and hurt and resentment spew forth like the drowning man’s splashes. And honestly, when I’m confronted with my grasping, I tend to naturally work harder to get what I want, to just keep asking for more and more validation.
It’s only when my fists uncurl and I realize that I’ve just got it all wrong, that anything changes. It can’t be what’s around me, because I can’t control when the baby sleeps, or if I’m always able to get exercise in, or if the kids are quiet enough so that I can read or write. No, it’s me, me who needs changing.
I’m learning to practice gratitude as an antidote to my needy grasping. I’ve been meaning to take up writing cards to people again as a little moment to pause and to brighten up someone’s day when they receive real mail in the post. So today I took out one of those cards that I’d laid aside for the purpose of brightening a friend’s day and wrote an I’m sorry note to my husband. It doesn’t automatically change that I’ve hurt him and treated my family poorly. But it does help my heart to remember that thank you starts here, at home.
Thanking my husband for emptying the dishwasher even when he just does it out of duty; thanking my children for their smiles and hugs and quickness to grant forgiveness when their mama’s in a bad mood; thanking my sweet baby girl for her smile and kisses that reign down like grace on whomever receives them; thankful for food, and a roof, and so many conveniences that make life simple. And thankful for a God who rejoices over me with singing, a Father who stands at the end of the road, scanning the horizon and runs when his child returns home.
This is the twenty-eighth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.