Giving and Receiving
Imagine giving your child a gift. You have put a lot of thought into this gift — it’s the perfect gift for them at this time in their lives. They take the gift from you, untie the ribbon, carefully pull back the wrapping paper, look at the gift . . . and sigh in disappointment. They give you a half-hearted “thank-you” and set the gift aside.
Ouch. That hurts.
When you question your child about their reaction, they tell you that it wasn’t the gift they wanted. Their friend has the gift they really wanted. Your gift is not the gift they expected.
As a parent, we would probably be pretty upset, even angry. How could my child be so selfish, so spoiled? They aren’t even grateful for the effort I put into choosing and giving them what I thought was a good gift. No one would blame us for feeling that way.
Thankfully, our Father in heaven is not like us earthly parents. The reason I say that is because in the above scenario, God is the parent and I am the child.
God has gifted me with life — a very good life. I have a wonderful husband, two amazing children with two amazing spouses, parents and other close family and friends I adore. He has even blessed me with the cutest Teddy Bear of a dog. God has blessed me with good health and interesting places to travel to. He has blessed me with the ability to read, learn, write and share. I could go on and on — and I should.
The Lord has blessed me with so much, but lately, I’m afraid, I’ve been like that spoiled child. Instead of being grateful for the gift, I can only see what I didn’t get.
I have these amazing, wonderful blessings from God, but I fixate on my friends whose children live in the same town or friends who already have grandchildren. It’s as if I’m saying “Thanks, God, for this great life, but I’d rather have that one over there”.
It’s not healthy and it’s something I definitely need to work on and pray about.
An Attitude of Gratitude
My husband and I were talking about this the other day. He misses our kids as much as I do. But, he pointed out, he knows they are independent, functioning adults. He knows we did our best to raise them right and they are doing well. Many other parents are dealing with a myriad of issues with their adult children — from mental health to physical health. Some are dealing with drug abuse, rebellion or estrangement. Sadly, some are even agonizing over the death of a child.
Our conversation snapped me back into reality. I should be grateful for the life I have and stop wishing I had someone else’s life.
We are entering that time of year when we focus on the things for which we are grateful. Even in this crazy, mixed-up 2020, we can find things that are good. Instead of bemoaning the things I don’t have, like my children living close by or a grandchild, I will focus on the things for which I am thankful.
How about you? Do you sometimes wish your life was different, more like someone else’s life? What do you do to turn negative thoughts around? What is one thing you are thankful for this year?