Today’s guest is someone I’ve known… OK. I can’t even guess how long I’ve known her! Let’s just say, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t see her name in my inbox. That probably doesn’t mean much since I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, but trust me! I’ve known her a long time.
At any rate… I want you to meet my friend, Alice. She’s a phenom of a lady and I love her very much. I am grateful for her friendship as well as her offer to guest on my blog.
Alice, I think this is something I definitely needed to hear. Life is crazy, or at least mine is. Thank you for this message!
I’d like to borrow a story I heard at a recent women’s conference:
A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.
“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”
John looked on but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.
A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”
John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”
The speaker’s point in telling this story was that we need to be careful how we view, and judge, each other. Today I would like to add that many of us also tend to look at ourselves and our lives through dirty windows. We think we have little or nothing to be grateful for, not because it isn’t there, but because we don’t see it.
We grumble about the weather, our jobs, our financial state, our health, our looks, our lack of talent/ability, our country, our neighbors, our leaders (even the ones we, ourselves, chose to lead), the traffic, the time, our possessions, gifts we give, gifts we receive, our food, our weight, and even the propensity that people have to complain! The supply of subjects on which to dump is never-ending.
Is it more fun to whine and complain than to express gratitude in our lives, or is it just easier? Or is it that complaining is just more acceptable in our society?
In most cases, the good qualities or benefits of whatever we’re complaining about are right in front of us, but for some reason we tend to focus on the negative. We are choosing to look through dirty windows, wondering why our lives appear so dim.
I challenge you, and I will take up this challenge myself, to choose a day this week—just one day—in which you will not complain about anything. Not one thing. Can you do it? It’s going to be hard, I know. And since it does no good to try to break a bad habit unless you replace it with a good one, every time you are tempted to complain, even a little, choose to express gratitude for something or someone instead.
At the end of the day, drop me a line to let me know your experience. (And let me know whether I have your permission to share it on my blog.) I would love to know if it made a difference in your day!
Thank you for listening.
Alice Workman lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and four of her five children. She is a full-time homemaker and part-time writer and college student. Besides writing and studying, she enjoys reading, knitting, baking and laughing—especially with her children. Find out more about her crazy life by reading her blog at Ask Aunt Alice. You can email her at GratitudeNotAttitude (at) gmail (dot) com.
 Charity Never Faileth, Thomas S. Monson, General Relief Society Meeting, Sept. 2010, http://new.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/charity-never-faileth?lang=eng