by Leigh Currey Merrifield – Editor
If you are anything at all like me, there are probably countless times when you recall things your mother has said to you through the years.
It may be an admonition for something you’ve said or done that she didn’t appreciate … or it might be a time when she thoughtfully patted you on the back and told you she was proud of you … or it might just be some short little quip that she regularly recites to remind you of who you are or what she expects. If you no longer have your mother, I’ll bet there are time when you say to yourself – “I wish mom were here so I could ask her opinion on this or that” … “What would my mother do in this situation?” …
Well, thankfully, I still have my mom, and recently I thought about all the things she has taught me through the years and the advice, admonitions and encouragement she has offered. But of all the things she has EVER said to me, probably the thing I try to remember most is one of her short little quips that is often the answer to everything! “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.” That’s pretty short, sweet and to the point, huh? When I think of those words, it kind of gives me a little breather from whatever is bothering me. Just three short words, but oh, what good advice!
I read a short piece recently that was a letter addressed to a pastor asking for advice about what to do when everything in your life seems to be such a mess. Hey, in life, we all contend with “messes” every so often – sometimes on a daily basis! Granted, some of those messes are bigger than others … some a little more traumatic and distressing … but everything can’t be a total mess. Look around and I’ll bet you can find a blessing or two in that “mess” to count!
Perhaps the problem that many of us human beings have is that we get into a “victim mentality” and let it poison us. We give so much weight to the negatives that we fail to remember all the positives. After all, if you have a roof over your head, a couple of meals a day, and you are reading this, then you have at least three blessings already … and you are more blessed than a good part of the world’s population! Studies show that most people have three times more positive experiences than negative ones. Yet we allow ourselves to be burdened with every problem we face and give each problem much more importance than it perhaps deserves. The least little criticism can spoil our whole day! A small loss or disappointment seems to take precedence over all else in our memory bank! Trust me, everything won’t be perfect for us every single day. So if opposition rears its ugly head, try to remember to take just a moment to appreciate what you have.
We seem to need reminders to stop and count our blessings, don’t we? Let’s just suppose that you’ve purchased a new car, for example. What a boost it is the first few times you drive it! But how quickly we forget!!!! And before long, it’s just “old hat” and the thrill is gone. Why do we sometimes have to get sick to gain a greater appreciation of our health? Why do we have to live for a few days without electricity or water to fully appreciate having them? Move to a new location, not knowing anyone around you, and suddenly, you come to value the importance of the friends you left behind. It seems we get into a terrible habit of taking things for granted.
You can bet that your days will not all be perfect ones, and yes, there will be difficult situations to deal with and things you can growl about. Just don’t let these times take control of you and your well-being. Try to cultivate a little more gratitude in your life. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to come but once a year! Recognize your good fortunes – even the little ones and be thankful. It’s not that hard – if you woke up this morning and your feet hit the floor … and you were able to walk … and you could see what the weather was outside (even if you didn’t like it!) … and you had clothes to put on your back after a hot shower … and the list goes on …… See? You’re blessed already in many ways!
Thanks, Mom for teaching me to always stop and count my blessings. It’s something I’ll NEVER forget! And when I count my blessings, Mama tops my list!
This week’s dessert: “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens