Monday, December 07, 2009

Choosing Richness

I have confession to make. Before I became a parent, I remember hearing parents gratitude for small things in life and sometimes thinking it was kind of lame...or at least kind of sad.

For instance, was life as a parent really so tough that you were thankful for a trip alone to the grocery store? Or that waking up at 8 o'clock qualified as the luxury of "sleeping in?" I sometimes thought that life as a parent must be so hard and dreary that these people had drastically lowered their standards for happiness so as not to be bummed about their life of restriction.

You could look at it that way, but I think I was missing something beautiful. The blessings children bring into life are sometimes hard to describe, but they have made my life much deeper and richer than I ever would have imagined. I will admit that life with children has many restrictions. Yet for each restriction there are five more blessings, if you choose to see them.

If you choose to see them.

Recently I've been reminded by my friend Kate N. that we must pay attention in order to see the good things of life. This is more than a psychological exercise in happiness. Choosing to see and appreciate the small joys of life is not lame nor is it lowering your standards. I believe it is a more "real" experience of life.

Having a child helped me go deeper into an attitude of gratefulness, but children are not a pre-requisite for this mentality! Any of us can choose to dwell on the easily-overlooked treasures in our lives. They are waiting to be discovered in all sorts of unexpected places.

So this season, I am thankful for sleeping in until 8 or grocery shopping alone. I'm thankful for the privilege of helping Desmond grow and learn about the world. For walking through life as Peter's friend, partner-in-crime and lover. For the richness that comes through sacrifice for others. For the easy and hard life experiences, and the obvious and hidden blessings.

I am working on choosing to see how each one makes me who I am and makes my life more rich.

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