I sat down today planning to write a post about the importance of perspective during the holidays and throughout the year. But before I began to write, I logged into my mortgage website to make an online payment. An error message led to a phone call to customer service . . . which led to news that our mortgage had been sold without notice . . . which led to a call to a different customer service desk with an even longer hold time . . . which turned a task that typically takes three minutes into 45 minutes . . . which led to a foul, foul mood for Ashley.
What should my thought have been? Thank you, GOD, that I have a nice place to live and the money to pay the mortgage.
What was I actually thinking? Mother bleeping incompetent mortgage companies and their ability to screw up my day.
And THIS is why life in 2014 America is so darn hard: everything is so freaking easy.
It’s nearly impossible to have anything resembling appropriate perspective on life. I have EVERYTHING. And God forbid one of the bazillion things I have goes away, even temporarily . . . that leads to a meltdown.
Here’s what my day should be like: Boy, I’m grateful my husband has a job for which to get up early . . . Boy, I’m grateful to have this comfy warm bed to sleep in, inside this climate-controlled house . . . Boy, I’m grateful to have indoor plumbing that keeps me from getting killer bacterial diseases . . . Boy, I’m grateful to have instant hot water to use as I please . . . Boy, I’m grateful to have a fridge and pantry full of things to eat for breakfast — and every other meal . . . Boy, I’m grateful for a car that takes me anywhere I want to go . . . Boy, I’m grateful for this traffic since it means I live in a thriving city . . . . . And so on and so on and so on until all I can think about at any given moment is how grateful I am.
“Normal life” is so seemingly mundane that I forget how amazing each little aspect actually is. Then, BAM, something comes out of the blue to shake me out of my complacency and I can’t believe how much I’ve taken for granted.
A few months ago, I had an inspiring conversation with a friend whose three-year-old was nearly finished with intense treatment for leukemia. Her biggest lesson was to never, NEVER take the “normal” everyday of life with healthy kids for granted — the arguments, the tantrums, the messes, the noise, the chaos — all signs of healthy life. All of these things, under normal circumstances, would drive her crazy.
Perspective. It makes a world of difference. And unfortunately, it often takes something unpleasant to gain it.
Our decision to partner with Supporting Kids Foundation during our season of Thanks & Giving was a deliberate one. It is a perfect reminder that, in the middle of the holiday “stress” (not enough time, not enough cash, strained relationships), there are families in our neighborhoods right here in KC that are struggling too, all while helping a child through cancer treatment. Whoa. It truly puts things in perspective. And it makes us want to jump out of our comfy box to do whatever we can to help.
With each year that passes since my cancer diagnosis, my tendency to return to my old way of thinking becomes stronger. And I’m fighting against it everyday. I don’t want to live any other way than being grateful for every tiny little moment. Because once you’ve come face-to-face with it being taken away, it doesn’t make sense not to savor it . . . both the good and the bad.
I hope this holiday season gives you the perfect opportunity to be completely overwhelmed with gratefulness for this completely imperfect life. What a gift it is.