December reality

It has been an expensive week. A bathroom light had to be replaced. A medical bill arrived. A fuel oil bill appeared on my door. (That’s how you know your home heating oil has been topped off…you get a little love note –bill—left on your front door). And this is December…I’m still not done with Christmas gifts or other monthly expenses.

But oh well, what am I complaining about? I see the news stories of how many people are out of work, losing homes, going to soup kitchens, and I know that I’m still among the fortunate, even with unexpected expenses cropping up. At least I have a bathroom, access to medical care, a house to warm. A job that pays for these things…well, Rob pays for some of it, of course…but the point is the same, no matter whose pocket the money comes from. We have it to spend. We are fortunate indeed. And if I really get creative, I can spin it that the money I am spending, even on things like bathroom lights, is helping someone pay their bills and keep going. I like helping the economy, I really do!

Of all times of the year, this is the easiest time for me to be grateful. I know that none of the gifts I am giving are essential. They are all extras, things that are fun or even useful. But not essential. And I would guess that most gifts that people give are in the same category. This is not about making anyone feel guilty, it is about recognizing that even when things aren’t perfect, they are still pretty good if you are warm, fed, and have enough excess to give those non-essential gifts. Why is it so difficult to keep this perspective? Maybe I am speaking for myself…but I don’t think so. Complaining is a way for all of us to vent, to let off steam. The image of the perfect life is out there, in myth and movies. We’ve seen it in our imaginations, and we work hard…don’t we deserve it? And why did my light have to be replaced anyway? I don’t know why life hands us these little irritations. Maybe it is to keep the big picture in perspective…and we know it already. We just don’t stay focused on the positives as much as the negatives. It is just human nature.

So I’m re-channeling my thoughts. My December is not going to be shadowed by the things that went wrong. It will be a celebration of the things that are good, gifts to us all. And when I flip my bathroom light switch, I’ll be grateful that it is working again, thankful for the repairman who replaced it, thankful for the job that allowed me to pay him, thankful for that minor irritation that reminds me how much I truly have.

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