Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6 (The Message)
The last few days have been a reality check for me. I’ve got lots going on and some worries about what’s happening. But, as they say, “There is always someone worse off than you.” I keep running into stories about people who are facing much difficulty, but have not given up. The following stories have kept me from hosting my own pity party.
1. It’s been an adjustment getting used to having oldest son at home. I miss the peace and quiet of just a few months ago. Then, I heard a song on the radio called, “One Last Christmas,” about a family whose thirteen month old son was diagnosed with a rapid spreading leukemia. The doctors said he would not live until Christmas so in August, his father decorated the house for Christmas to give him one last Christmas. When the neighbors heard about it, they decorated their houses and as word spread, the entire town did the same. Little Dax did die, but not before celebrating Christmas in a grand way. And now, his parents are raising funds to support St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital who provided Dax’s care. Every time I hear the song, I weep and remember, my son is home for Christmas. Dax’s parents have only the memories.
2. Work continues to be very stressful. I have lost two more employees and though interviewing to replace them, I always have in the back of my mind, it will be at least a year before they know their jobs well enough that I don’t have to oversee their work constantly. I never dreamed this time last year that I would have six brand new employees by year’s end. And then, I read in the paper about a couple in our community who are well respected and great philanthropists. There are many non profit organizations who are beneficiaries of their largesse. They were in the construction business and recently filed for bankruptcy and are losing their home. No matter how stressful, I’m lucky to have a job.
3. I’ve been fretting over husband’s health. Today, I had lunch with a friend from high school. Her husband has a debilitating disease and has been in a nursing home for several years. They are my age. It could be worse.
4. Though I made gifts for all the women in our family, I still had to buy for the men and for my children. Like most Americans, we are cutting back on our spending. I read that the average American family spends $386 on Christmas. That’s total. I have been known to spend that much per child. Though I probably won’t this year, I will go over that family average because we have so many family members to buy for. There will be a large pile of gifts under our tree. I have much to be thankful for.
5. Our parents’ are getting older and in some ways, their frailties are getting more and more obvious. Sometimes, they can be demanding. But, all four are still active and healthy. This year, my boss lost her stepfather, stepmother and mother-in-law. I have nothing to complain about.
Six stories, six reasons to be grateful for what I have. Counting my blessings instead of my complaints.