Friday, August 14, 2009

Joie de vivre?

My "Joie" is getting lost and tangled in my"de Vivre"...

Yesterday life began to catch up to me, and I was all set, counting my griefs, to have a bad day. I really was! Woke up feeling kind of down to begin, and then I remembered that I had lost my good camera. Stolen, along with my purse, on Monday. I really liked that camera. It helps me capture the little beauty-moments that I find everywhere, helps me not to overlook them. It was a gift from Husband.

So - no camera. No purse. All the little trinkets that I don't need but always have with me "just in case"... gone. (Except the cards. Thankfully, the cards were returned right away.)

And then I realized I would have to adjust my errand running this day, since we are down to one car. Dead Buick. Now there's an inconvenient truth.

Awe, man... no purse, camera gone, dead Buick...

And the lawn mower died, too. The grass is getting mighty long while we try to find something used and usable.

The dryer doesn't work either. yeah...

And then my sweet daughter lost her job that morning!!

So I was beginning to think I had plenty of reason to wallow in frustration and sadness. Then I heard someone else's story. Someone with real problems. And I was a little embarrassed.

I started remembering that is is much better to think on things that are "good, true, beautiful, worthy of praise..."

I remembered it really is better to see the beauty all around and be thankful, and how could I do that when I was so focused on the junk? So I decided to change. I decided to give myself a chance to list all the troubles one last time, grieve for a few minutes, acknowledge the sadness, and then start thinking thankfulness and other good things.

But I was in a slump. It was hard work to think positively. I was surprised what a job it could be to change my thinking. I knew I could use a boost: I went to the coffee house and got an iced chai AND a chocolate no-bake cookie. (This was a serious, 2-treat slump!) That helped me start feeling better and gave me some energy.

And then I thought, "I will begin my litany of thanks on the very things that I am having so much trouble with today, the things that are making me unhappy! There must be things right there that I can choose to be thankful for if I try." And I did. And I surprised myself! Watch this...

The Buick is dead: I am thankful that only one car is dead. I'm thankful that we have another car that works and is reliable, that husband works third shift right now, making our schedule fairly well-suited to using one car, at least for awhile. I am thankful that there are very low cost cars out there and that we can keep an eye out for one, but not feel a need to hurry into a purchase that might endanger our financial situation. (184 - 187)

The dryer doesn't work: I am so glad this happened in the summer. I love being out in the sunshine! I am glad that it didn't completely die but only (I think) needs maybe a heating element. I am thankful for that dryer in the first place, because it was a gift from a friend who no longer needed it!! I am thankful that there are other free or nearly free dryers out there once in awhile if we need to get another one. I am thankful for friends who share. (189 - 194)

The car was broken into: I am thankful no damage was done to the car. I am thankful (grudgingly, but still...) for the lesson to LOCK the car when you leave it, for crying out loud, and DON'T leave valuables in it unlocked and wide open when you do not know the neighborhood!! (195 - 196)

Stolen purse: I am thankful that all the credit cards, etc. were returned so quickly, never having been used. One person stole the things. Two people returned my cards, which were in two separate cases. I love knowing that there are a lot of good, decent people out there. In this case, by a ration of two to one over the not so decent! I am thankful that not much cash was taken. I am thankful that I was already considering replacing that purse when it was taken, as it was old and about ready to go. I am thankful for friends who helped me contact the police, search the bushes, and stay calm. I m thankful for the friend who prayed with me and taught me how to pray for those we might call our"enemies." It was beautiful, how she prayed for that person's needs to be met. We can be angry at wrong, yet still care about the one doing the wrong! (I am thankful that now I have a really good excuse for buying a new purse!!) (197 - 204)

Camera: I am sad about this. I am thankful that there were no really rare, precious pictures on that memory card when I lost it. I am thankful that I was about to replace that old memory card but hadn't bought a new one yet before it was stolen. (205 - 206)

Sweet daughter's job: I am sorry she lost her job, but thankful for this evidence that God is working uniquely in her life. I am so sad that she wants to move to a far away state where her friends are. She would be too far away for us to even visit, I'm afraid. I could never go out for coffee or shopping with her, or to the beach. I want the best for her, of course, but I would miss her terribly. Watching her ask questions and respond thoughtfully to our questions is encouraging. I am thankful for this. And seeing this unexpected drastic event in her life suggests to me that God has His own way of working in her life. I am sure he will do better than I could. (207 - 208)

It was hard at first to think of things to be thankful for in the middle of these crummy situations. But I'm glad I did because 1) it is the right thing to do. And 2) It did help me feel better and gain a better perspective.


  1. "Don't you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people." Genesis 50:20.

    What a joy to watch God turn your mourning into dancing! Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!

  2. Thank you, Deidra, you are right. -k.


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