Sunday, June 15, 2008

Gratitude: A Dying Attribute, Pt. 2

If you haven't watched the video from June 11, please do so. For one thing, it's fascinating. For another, it helps set the stage for this blog. It won't take long, I promise.

So anyway, a few days ago I was at the mall, waiting for my hubby to come meet me. I'd spent about two hours shopping (I was on a mission, courtesy of my darling Siberian husky pup, who just that morning devoured the shoes I wear to business meetings. Comfortable, nice shoes that I've had and loved for almost 15 years. Do you know how hard it is to find shoes like that?? Sigh...but that's another blog...). Anyway, I was exhausted, so I did what any exhausted writer does. I made my way to Starbuck's, begged a glass of ice water (too late for coffee and what's the point of decaf?), and settled into one of the cushy chairs. I still had at least a half hour before my hubby would arrive, so I called a good friend.

Said friend is a singer in a band. Said band just decided to perform at weddings. Band, brainer, right? Not so. You see, my friend, used to be a DJ. Which meant a lot of his business was with weddings. After five years, he stopped. Why? Because dealing with "wedding" people was a nightmare. Especially the brides. Awful, demanding, petulant, spoiled-brat women who want what they want NOW! Don't even think about saying no to these women, not unless you want your hair (and heart) scorched by vitriol, because this is their day, by heaven, and you better not mess it up. (Think Bridezillas, which I thought was the exception, but from my friend's experience is apparently far more the norm...)

I don't know about you, but I found that disturbing. I mean, your wedding day is a precious, holy day, right? The day you pledge your life to another, under God's covering and blessing. When did the focus of such an amazing event shift from the people and the union to the trappings? As I wondered that, I thought back on the day. In my journey from shoe store to shoe store, I did what all writers do. I people watched. And here are a few snippets of what I observed...

  • Two teenage sales ladies griping because a customer had the gall to actually talk with them. "You should have told him, 'Hey, just shut up and get out,'" one commented to the other. "I mean, like we care what he has to say."
  • A young family schlumping their stroller and blankets and baby bag to a table on the outskirts of the food court, setting it all down. Dad suggested a table closer to the food places would be easier. Mom clearly not happy. Grabbed one kid and her blanket, and stomped to another table, baby blanket dragging on the floor, leaving hubby to bring all the stuff and the little boy.
  • Two women talking together about how cheap their husbands were, and how they had no recourse but to not tell them they were out shopping. "I used to worry he'd see the bags," one said with a grin, "so now I shop while he's at work and put it all away before he gets back."
What, I wondered, makes people so snarky, so self-focused? That's when it hit me. We've lost our sense of gratitude. Worse, we've replaced gratitude with a sense of entitlement. I want, I need, I deserve, doggone it!

How have we let that happen? We, who live in the richest country in the world...who are able to shop and buy with impunity...who have homes and clothes and food and weddings and lives people in other countries can't even dream of, let alone make happen... When did we decide we have all this bounty because we deserve it? Because friends, we don't. Sure, we work hard. But just the fact that we have jobs is a blessing. Not, by any means, a given. Remember that video? Those last words hit me hard: Appreciate what you have.

So how, in this give-me-what-I-want-and-do-it-now world do we cultivate a heart of gratitude? Good question! I went to Scripture to see what God thinks about gratitude, and found Colossians 3:15-17:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Great words, huh? As I read them over, I saw they gave a perfect Roadmap to gratitude. Which I'll share in my next blog.

Peace, all.



Nicole said...

Amen, Sister. The lost have "lost" all sense of who gives them breath, and the source of any good and perfect gift. I despise ingratitude in myself and others. There is no place for it--especially in a believer.

(The video didn't come up for me.)

Karen B. said...

Thanks, Nicole. And thanks for the heads-up on the link for the Miniature Earth. I tried to fix the link, but Blogger seems to be having trouble right now, so I just settled for putting in the url. Give it a try. It's very cool.


Lori Benton said...

Great post, Karen, and a good reminder to put a guard on my tongue... which so often wants to talk about me, me, me.

Congratulations for making the 21 day mark!

Karen B. said...

Thanks, Lori!


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