In the Holy Week to come, I invite you to join me on a fast from complaining. Whenever a complaint or ungrateful thought comes to mind, stop and listen. Perhaps form the words Lord have mercy in your mind or whisper them gently. Listen to the sounds around you. Listen to creaks, windy trees, birds. Listen to the people around you. Listen to your heart beating and your breathing. Laugh even as you hear your stomach make noises.
You might be surprised at what is discovered and what you learn. You might find yourself laughing more. You might decide a prayer of confession would help. P.S. Looking at your email on your phone isn’t listening.
I’ve started practicing this a little in the last few days, and this is what I’ve heard:
My husband is currently finishing the hardy board in our bathroom. Yeah! Plus, he’s whistling a tune from Annie Get Your Gun. This reminds me that I love that he will watch musicals with me and enjoy them. I have his mom to thank for that. Thanks Sandy!
Yesterday, when I picked up Lydia (6 years) from school, I smiled at her. She said, “Well, snack time was horrible!” “Why?” I asked. “Everyone kept saying ‘Ew, gross, Lydia brought a cucumber muffin! Ew! Gross!” I said, “It was a zucchini muffin. Tell them they were wrong.” She huffed. “They are just missing out, babe,” I said. “I still ate it. It was good, Mom,” she said with triumph. At this point my listening went a bit awry because all I could think was, Dumb kids. Sorry, had to be honest. I didn’t say it out loud. I yelled, “Zucchini muffins are awesome!!! Woo-hoo!” The girls all stared for a minute. Then we moved on. They’re used to me.
I heard delight and sadness in my oldest when she found this egg on our trampoline. We searched for a nest together, but we couldn’t find one. She’s made it a nest, and she’s trying to keep it warm. Love her.
I heard my dog once again go after my neighbor’s cat. He’s (the neighbor) very kind about it all. Of course, now she has another scratch on her other eyeball. It’s goopy. You probably didn’t want to know that. No pictures. Poor Dot.
I heard my littlest girl grab my arm and say, “I like you.”
I heard birds singing and tweeting and having a party. I’m pretty sure Spring is the bird’s favorite season. This sentence would have made my friend Katy happy. She was always trying to get me to pay attention to birds. She loved birds.
I heard all the girls in the front yard counting the bluebonnets. They made it to 99. This made me start singing 99 Red Balloons. Again, the staring.
I heard one of our daughters declare me the winner when my husband and I did sprints in the front. I’m so glad she believes in me even though I was the biggest loser.