Do you have a heart filled with gratefulness, or one that’s always in search of a pity party?
Don’t get me wrong, I like a serious pity party as much as the next person. I’ve been known to stay at one way past closing time, reveling in the melancholy, sipping the bitter dregs from the bottom of my bottle and searching for tiny crumbs of misery. But I never leave those parties with a smile on my face and confetti in my hair. I walk away with a solitary balloon dragging behind me on a string.
I’m constantly tempted to compare my own meager portions with someone else’s feast.
But comparison is a thief. It robs us of contentment and joy and drives a wedge in relationships.
So, I have to ask myself often. Am I grateful for what I have or striving for what you have?
It’s easy to avoid comparison when someone achieves success in a way that doesn’t threaten me. For example, if you open a restaurant and are booked solid every night, I will be thrilled for you. Not only do I have no plans of opening a restaurant, but I have zero desire to cook. Your success is not a threat to me.
But, what if your success is my dream?
Not long after Steve and I were married, we had our first beautiful baby. Ashley was our delight and after a short time, we decided to expand our family further. Year after year, we tried to have another baby. Over ten years passed and I had all but given up hope. During those years, friends and family had babies, and more babies, and even MORE babies while we prayed for another child, went through fertility testing and suffered through a failed adoption.
With every year that passed, I longed for what I didn’t have and struggled to be grateful. I held back the tears each time someone announced a pregnancy. I forced myself to attend a seemingly endless parade of baby showers. But pity cast a dullness over each and every celebration.
Over time, God revealed to me that His love and grace are infinite and his gifts are chosen specifically for me.
I finally found peace with our little family of three, became grateful for the gifts I was given and was truly happy whenever a friend announced another baby on the way.
So, imagine our surprise when thirteen years after the birth of our first daughter, we welcomed another daughter, Rachel, followed two years later by our boy Sam. The joy and light that our friends and family beamed onto us, with the birth of each of our children was nothing short of dazzling.
It’s been nineteen years since I last gave birth and these many years later, we now know the endless bliss of grandchildren. Our hearts are full.
Here’s the thing. It’s hard for the light in others to reflect back on me when my own gleam is gone.
It’s like looking into a mirror and refusing to smile, because the image staring back at me isn’t smiling either.
In the past few years I have come to realize that the more I practice gratitude and send love out into the world, the more it multiplies. When I am grateful for the gifts I’ve been given, I can celebrate with you when you succeed.
Love and gratitude are infinite. There isn’t a Scrooge McDuck vault out there somewhere with a miserly, finite supply. It’s endless and multiplies the more it’s given away.
I’m not saying I’ll never throw another pity party. But the next time, I may not stay quite as long.