It’s winter, the holiday season, and I’m finally getting around to reading “Little Women.” I’ve loved the movie since I was a little girl and watch it nearly every winter, but I’d never read the book. Somehow, it always seemed wrong to read it in the spring or summer. So before bed a week or so ago, when deciding what new book to start reading, I reached for the classic novel I’d been putting off for so long.
The other night, I came across a quote that made me stop in my tracks and write it down. The timing was all too appropriate, and I had to remember it.
In trying to teach her daughters that the minor inconveniences they’ve been complaining about are not the end of the world, Mrs. March tells them:
“When you feel discontented, think over your blessings, and be grateful.”
This is something I was telling a lot of people in the past week thanks to some perspective that I got last Monday morning. That morning, I was just sitting at work, taking care of business and/or goofing off as usual, when I saw a text message from one of my oldest and dearest friends. The text was sent to her closest friends, informing us that her family’s house had caught fire early in the morning. My stomach started churning. Everyone made it out safely, including their dog and turtle, and aside from one room, the house was mostly spared other than smoke and water damage.
I spent the next couple of days struggling with this inherent urge to help them, to do something to make it better for them, and struggling coming to terms with the fact that there wasn’t really anything I could do at that time.
As the week went on, I got more information about it and I was able to take my friend out for dinner on Friday night, allowing her to escape the hotel room she’s been staying in and to relieve some of the stress with a couple of drinks. I got to spend some time with her and her brother and her father, and seeing them all, seeing that they’re doing OK, is what really put me at ease about it all.
They’re getting through it. It’s a horrible time of year for it to happen, and her younger brother lost everything… except for his life and his family, which ultimately, is what matters.
So over the past week, when anything has started to bug me, I’ve stopped, thought about my friend and her family, and realized my gratitude for the fact that they are safe, as well as the many blessings in my life and in those of the ones I love.
This time of year, from about Thanksgiving on, it’s all about being thankful for what you have. Never before has it been more applicable than this year for me. So keep that in mind when you’re feeling discontented over the little things this holiday season… you probably have far more to be thankful for than you do to complain about.