Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Complaining: The Easy Way Out

Since I've been a negligent blogger lately, I really wanted to write today. I didn't have much to say, but I thought I'd ramble on about my quiet weekend & new mixer.

But then, through my blog readings, I stumbled upon this sad story. Chad Cole, the author, recently lost his wife of 15 years & their unborn child in a terrible car accident. It is really a poignant read as he chronicles his grief in letters to his girls.

After shedding a few tears, my insignificant issues seem just that. Insignificant. Just this morning Pat & I were complaining about not wanting to go to work... and it dawned on me that I complain way too much. About anything, no matter how trivial, particularly if things aren't going my way.

Actually, I think the world runs on complaints sometimes: in the winter it's too cold, in the summer it's too humid, too hot. It's raining or snowing or windy or dark. We complain about the government & the price of gas, we complain about state of the world & people who don't have the same ideologies as we do. We complain about traffic & the condition of the roads... & especially if the traffic is due to construction to fix the bad roads! We complain about the ever-present internet & how things just aren't like they were in "the good-old days" - but we complain if we don't have our smart phones, laptops & TVs within reach at all times.

But really... what do I have to complain about?

I have an amazing partner who loves me for who I am. I have a place to live, a fridge full of food & a dresser full of warm clothes. Family, jobs, friends, material possessions... I have more than I could possibly need. I know all this...
And yet... we complain. Why?

Because it's easy. Complaining about the weather is the easiest small-talk out there. Complaining about your crappy job is easier than trying to find (or train for) a better one. Complaining about the food is easier than making it yourself.

Unfortunately, there's no doubt that all this complaining has some very bad side effects on society. Depression is on the rise. Divorce rates have been rising for a long time. Voter rates are decreasing. We are becoming less connected as we become more digitally connected. It's so easy to send off a text or email, so why bother meeting face-to-face?

I found a passage on Chad's blog particularly inspiring & relevant to my train of thought. He was explaining how he didn't think his marriage had been perfect but that they had worked for it. Here is the excerpt:
"The most important part of love was choosing to love each other, even when we didn't feel "it." Even when we got angry at each other, couldn't stand to be in the same room, couldn't even talk to each other, it was the choice of love that would eventually bring us back together. Love fueled not by some chemical reaction in the brain, not based solely on physical attraction, but by the simple belief that we could choose to love each other.
Did we ever get bored? Yes, but we could change it with a choice.
Did we always see eye to eye? No, but we could choose the common ground."
This fits very well with how I've always seen love: as an action verb. Something that you must work towards. It isn't just going to happen & stay golden forever. You need to polish that gold in order to keep it shiny. It's too easy to look at a dull relationship & just walk away.

For the record, I have nothing against divorce. I just think that many "irreconcilable differences" could actually be worked out, if both parties were willing to make the effort. But taking the easy way out - like complaining - is just too easy.
I guess what I'm getting at is that I want to be more thankful, more grateful, in my day to day life. I want to work on my relationship & stop taking Pat for granted. I want to spend more time doing the menial stuff now so that I can be ready for the good stuff all the time.

Today, that means doing the dishes before I exercise & running to the door as soon as I hear Pat's keys in the lock. I can't wait to feel his arms around me!

What are you most thankful for?
How do you remember to be grateful everyday?


Dorana said...

thank you for this wonderful affirmation of all of the blessings in our lives - i am eternally grateful for the loving support of my husband who is pessimistic about everything except our love, family and future... siempre- dorana

Danielle said...

Very well said.

I read some of Chad's blog. It's heart breaking.

Nicole's Homemade Treats...The Blog said...

What a well written, well said post. I could not agree with you more. I "try" my best, but there are days...

I must say that I am eternally grateful.. grateful for my life, because without it I would not be me and being me is a very lucky thing indeed.

What am I thankful for? Well, that list could go on and on and on... suffice it to say I am thankful for people like you who remind me not to forget to be thankful!!


Katherine said...

Yes. Yes to everything in here, as it was just what I needed to hear at the moment. :)