Complaining and Encouragement

“When we complain we mock those who truly suffer,” a friend used to say often.  I don’t know if she was quoting someone or just made it up.  And may I say that it pissed me off whenever she said it cause I liked complaining, I thought I was justified, and it was convicting, which I did not invite.

Yet today I’ve been encouraged several times by people reminding me that my minor woes are not major woes.  And I think there’s a message in that that is tailor-made for me.

I started the day pretty discouraged, bummed, minor-league worried and troubled.  And I wrote “Please send me encouragement” in my prayer notebook, in the section that says, “I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (that’s Psalm 5:3, and I never fail to think how cool it is that God invites that from us peons).

The good thing about praying is that when we ask for something, we recognize it as from the hand of God when it does come.

So today I’ve seen encouragements coming from everywhere.  A friend at the gym listened to my whining about trying to parent adult children (when the nest empties and fills cyclically, it’s a bit destabilizing), and she said, “Yea, but we sure are lucky that they’re all healthy and alive.”  And I was struck that the old adage of “When we complain we mock those who truly suffer” really is true.

And when I spoke to another friend about my minor complaints, she answered gently in a way that reminded me that people have worse problems (our family shorthand is “these are rich people’s problems.”)

And in between that, I’ve had encouraging email conversations with a couple of writing friends, and one of my favorite people on the planet came over to borrow books, and my son sent me a Pablo Neruda poem, and I saw a bird in her nest, and I wasn’t hit with a nuclear bomb.

So all in all, it’s been a good day, not one worthy of complaint.  And the fact that I know it indicates that just the teeniest bit of growth might have transpired in my life.


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