Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love life and see good days: Aspire to inspire gratitude

It was a hard day today. Walt woke up in a terrible mood and I felt like I had to sludge through 4 hours of screaming toddler before even going to church where I most likely would have a 1 hour wrestingling match with two boys during sacrament meeting followed by a 2-hour-outnumbered-mass-chaos-of-18-month-old-nursery class where I'd be wiping snotty noses, pulling kids off chairs before they tumble to their demise, breaking up fights over toy planes and trains, trying to keep kids from eating play dough and stuffing crayons up their aforementioned snotty noses etc. etc.

Sacrament meeting did prove to be quite the fiasco. Walt kept trying to escape and screamed every time I stopped him from leaving our row. Matt took him out about half an hour in. About 10 min. later Dean was just being so naughty. Running out into the aisles. Making lots of noise. He was just bouncing off the ceiling. I ended up taking him out and setting him down in the hall next to a pillar for a time out. Matt ended up taking him into the clean room while I then took Walter and began to cry as the beautiful violin musical number started playing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. Three sisters in the lobby with their own toddlers came over to give me hugs, ask if I was ok, and sympathize with my circumstance.

A couple weeks ago we had a Stake  Relief Society conference where we had inspiring classes on how to be better people. My favorite of the three classes was one on perspective.

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go." Martha Washington

" life, and see good days..." says Peter (1 Peter 3:10) He goes on to say that in order to do that, we must stop speaking evil and guile. Criticism doesn't help us feel happier. Pre-judging, gossip and slander keep us from seeing the good. 

Are we actually looking for the good? Do we see the good that happens in our lives? Do we thank the Lord for the good things that come our way? Or do we just blame, nit-pick, and look for ways we have been wronged?

I pretty much was expecting the worst today and I got it.  I was looking for it, and I found it.  Luckily other people through kind acts and beautiful music helped lift me out of my funk.  I can wallow in my self-pity as long as I want, but if I want to be happy, I have to look for the good in the circumstances that I'm in and let go of being the victim.

I was reading in the Gospel Principles manual tonight on Charity, and President Monson said, “Let us ask ourselves the questions: ‘Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?’ [Hymns, no. 223]. What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace—to have inspired gratitude in another human being."

I really think that as we start to see the good in our lives, we are better able to be the good for others. We are more apt to serve, help, forgive, and love.

I own a book called "Change your questions, Change your life" by Wendy Watson Nelson, Elder Nelson's wife. As long as we are stuck in the "Why me" stage, we'll not grow or become better. But we need to move on to questions such as "What can I learn from this?" Heaven knows the older I get, the more I know I don't know everything!  There are plenty of lessons I need to learn from days like today, so I guess there's something to be grateful for!

The teacher of that RS class also reissued a challenge that Elder Eyring gave in a conference to write down the good things that happen to us so we can see the hand of the Lord in our lives. This past month I've been keeping a pen-and-paper journal (imagine that!) faithfully every night before I go to bed. I don't try to make it flow or worry about grammar. I just try and think of the top 5 (or more) things that happened during the day that I was grateful for or that made me laugh.  My blog has suffered because I'm getting my words out elsewhere, but I think I'm feeling better for it. It helps me look for the Lord's tender mercies and focus on the blessing my children are in my life rather than focus on the difficult moments where I may-or-may-not-have-wanted-to-strangle-my-darling-children-for-screaming-for-3-hours-straight-or-for-smearing-animal-cracker-goop-all-over-my-couches.You should try it.

Phew. The end. Kudos to you if you actually read my ramblings.


mad white woman said...

Very inspiring and a good reminder about how we are in control of our happiness. For some reason this is one of those lessons I have to re-learn. Over and over and over.

Wendy said...

I can completely relate to your Sunday. We're watching my nephew and niece, so we had them with us at church, I was fasting for the first time in forever, AND I started my period, lovely.

I was having the hardest time managing my primary class. Let's just say, I ended up crying and they weren't tears of feeling the spirit.

As a family we have been focusing on Pres. Eyring's message from the friend. It sounds like the same talk. So I've begun the bullet point journalling and I've really liked that too. I started to write in it on Sunday night, but gave up. I wasn't in the mood to revisit the events of the day.

Thanks for sharing the better perspective of a crummy day.

Erin said...

Celia, I have to say thank you for your thoughts. I really love the quote by Martha Washington and try to remember something similar to that every morning I roll out of bed. We are the only ones who can control our attitudes. I also think it's good for all the mothers out there to know they are not alone in their struggles. I had a VERY similar Sunday this past week. We also have to consciously look for the happiness in our lives sometimes. We each take a turn around the dinner table sharing a story about a moment in our days that made us happy or smile or laugh and it really brings us good times together. It's amazing what laughter can do for a family. Thanks again for your thoughts.