The mess around me has finally won. My trial schedule crashed into the week when I have to pack my office. I attended to the cases and let the debris at home fall of its own sloppy weight. God knows how I’ll get the office packed in a half-day tomorrow and whatever time on Sunday my cherished volunteers can spare.
But while I’m surrendering to clutter, I’ll take a moment to also allow myself to recognize the well of thankfulness rising within me. You might not be able to detect its presence, blocked behind such obstinate obstacles as grousing about the botched machinations associated with my house-sale or even the good-natured lament over a settlement gone sour because, you see, Missouri law won’t let people get divorced if they are pregnant. Continued to July, draw blood, appoint me as GAL for the baby, and fly me back at my own expense. Heavy sigh.
I am grateful, though. When we go around the table, I’ll set aside even the temptation to complain. I’ll seek the humanity in the title company employee who waits until the eleventh hour to ask for decades-old paperwork that I shredded just six weeks ago. I’ll draw in a healing breath and release my anger at a friend who stubbornly refused to acknowledge the discomfort that his actions caused those around him or the time I spent calming the situation. I’ll release my frustration at the crunch in my back and I will, for a few minutes at least, stop missing all the people who no longer grace my table for whatever reason.
i began this blog with the thought of going 365 days without complaining. I had spent six months reading and studying videos about nonviolent communication. I had watched my mother-in-law surrender to the fog of dementia. I had heard the message of her eulogy, a tribute to her uncomplaining soul. I had thrown away the last of the prescription narcotics and abandoned consumption of white sugar. I longed for peace and harmony in my home; and I wanted to make the effort required to honor my end of every personal bargain.
Most of all: I wanted to embrace joy by forswearing lament. I thought that going an entire year without uttering one word of complaint or miming one gesture of disgust would enable me to live a more joyful, peaceful life. By starting this process, I sought to outwardly demonstrated the acceptance and tolerance which I desired to genuinely adopt.
It’s been a long forty-seven months in this, my intended year without complaining.
I’ve learned that people have many faults and usually stubbornly maintain their virtues. I include myself in that category. The tendency of people to turn any remission on the unwitting recipient of their error continues to astonish me. They drop the ball and rail at you for wincing when it hits your foot. Most days this proclivity spurs me to shake my head, though once in a while I just want to bitch-slap someone. Truly.
But I don’t. I walk myself into a closet and scream. I find a trusted compatriot and utter some whiny plea for sympathy. I stand on my porch and breathe the heavy fragrance of last year’s noble begonias. Then I take an even deeper draw of cleansing air, and start all over again. I recite a litany of occurrences, people, and phenomena that enrich my life. I spread my arms and stand ready to receive the bounty which I know will flow through the seemingly unrelenting dearth. I welcome beauty.
I surrender to gratitude.
It’s the twenty-third day of the forty-seventh month of My [Eternal] Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Some of the dear friends and family
with whom I have been honored to be photographed over the last few years.