Seventeen months have flown by since I started this blog as a tribute to my mother-in-law, Joanna Mitchell MacLaughlin. On hearing her praised as someone who never complained, and knowing that to be so, I vowed to learn to live complaint-free in her honor.
I did not manage to do so within the year that I budgeted for the task. I am five months into my second year, and still struggling to find my joyful groove. Friends of mine assert that living complaint-free cannot be done. Others gently admonish me to be easier on myself. But I have learned that protest over injustice, whether large or small, can be done in ways that even the most critical would not call “complaining”. Protest can, in fact, be phrased in nonviolent communication.
One of my best moves was to continue surrounding myself with joyful people and joyful experiences. I visit my cousin Paul Orso as often as my calendar allows, for example. Paul has ALS which, I’m sad to say, advances more quickly than I had hoped. Yet when I saw him at the family reunion last weekend, he threw his frail arms around my neck and cried, “My cousin Corinne! My cousin, my cousin!” with happiness in his heart and voice.
How can I complain in the face of such splendor?
The flowers on my deck bloomed particularly brightly this week on account of all the rain. One pot might well need its own zip code soon. I sit on my porch and gaze on their loveliness. I feel a sense of peace; and realize that I have moved forward in my quest to live complaint-free in ways that might be apparent only to someone standing very near to me and looking deeply into my soul. I’ve moved a few more clicks towards happiness.
Another milestone: Seventeen months have gone by, and I’m still on my journey. But I place a marker here, now, on the last day of the seventeenth month in my year without complaining. I place this marker to remember how I felt on this day, how this day looked to me. Happy anniversary to me! I have survived seventeen months of my quest to live complaint-free, and I’m still putting my best foot forward.
Joanna would be so pleased!