30 days of gratitude in the home -- day 20
Thankfulness for how God has worked in your life...
I think I've miscounted somewhere, because I've been blogging about this subject since November and think I've surely done more than 20 posts already. But, if I spend a little extra time on Thanksgiving than need be, it surely won't hurt!
Have you ever done a survey of your whole life, taking note of all thew ways you've seen God working in your life? If you haven't, I highly recommended it. Seeing how God has blessed you from childhood on will surely change your view of your life. Even if you have had terrible times in the past, you will see them in a new light.
Last night, friends and I were talking about how easy it is to be kind and gracious to everyone else in the world, except for the person dearest to us -- the beloved husband of the heart. We all discovered something. It's when we are frustrated with ourselves that we often become impatient with our spouses.
After I came home, I did a little blog reading. I followed a link from The Elegant Woman to this moving article about a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. This article is especially touching to me, as my mother died of early onset Alzhiemer's, and my father is suffering from mild dementia in his very advanced years.
The article profiles Mary Ann Becklenberg, a retired social worker from Dyer, Indiana. At the age of 62, she learned she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Though she remained active, even to the point of becoming an Alzheimer's patient advocate, her husband, John, began to move into the role of her care giver.
It's interesting that Mary Ann pointed to the same concept that my friends and I were talking about. She writes:
My husband has become my caregiver. He is the navigator and coordinator of my day to day life. He’s rarely short with me, but I’m often short with him – because of my frustration with myself. One of the challenges is to keep humor in our lives, to laugh about the things you forget.Her message doesn't apply to people with Alzheimer's disease only. If we find ourselves becoming impatient with others, rather than being grateful for them, we can check what's going on in our hearts.
My message to people with Alzheimer’s is this: Be gentle with yourself. This disease requires that you lower your expectations of yourself. That’s a hard thing for most of us to do. The fear is losing yourself, knowing that you won’t bring this self to the end stage of your life.So I look to build my spirit.
I believe in a loving God, and when I’m afraid or down or angry or frustrated, I go outside, whatever the weather, and I pray, “Teach me to be gentle with myself.”
Often, we will find that we are frustrated with ourselves because we know we didn't attend to some important responsibility or we are tired or we have loaded our day with unrealistic expectations or another person's needs are getting in the way of our mental "to-do" list. At such moments, it's wise to take our personal irritations to the Lord to find help and grace. Then, we can remind ourselves to be grateful for this person in our lives.
That doesn't always mean that we will not need to speak to another person about some issue at hand. But, it does mean that we will free ourselves up to talk in a gentle and respectful manner, rather than snapping or whining or nagging or putting the other person down.
A little gratitude and kindness goes a long way in soothing our own spirits and in helping us treat other people with respect.