Sunday, August 26, 2012

Everyday Life

            Finding joy in the little things can be a hard thing to do. Sometimes, you just don’t feel like looking for joy; you’d rather wallow in your misery. That’s kind of how I was feeling yesterday.
            Allow me to start from the beginning.
            Considering that we have guests needing to stay in our guest-apartment at the end of this week, we decided that it was time to pack up Josh’s belongings and finish putting in the bathroom. On Friday, Mom and I packed up Josh’s stuff (we both had a good cry while going through his clothes). Saturday, Mom and Dad went out to work on the bathroom – and left me in the house to babysit my five younger siblings. Which was okay – for the first ten minutes.
            The 12-year-old has [seemingly] endless questions concerning schoolwork. The 11-year-old is asking to do every kind of craft under the sun. The 9-year-old is being ridiculously loud while playing with the 4-year-old, who is so emotional that he bursts into tears every five minutes for no apparent reason. The 2-year-old is running around in the midst of it, alternately between shrieking with joy and squalling with rage, or crying because he got a “bomp-bomp”.
            Talk about insanity.
            And to top it all off, I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Every night, I’ve been waking up at least 3-4 times throughout the night (no clue why). So needless to say, I wasn’t in the cheeriest mood to take care of a bunch of monkeys.
            So here I was, cranky, tired, irritable, and on the verge of screaming, when the phone rang. I answered it: it was Andrew. He and Tianna were going to the church campsite that night to visit everyone, and were asking if I wanted to come. I just about melted with relief. My salvation!
And then he said that they were leaving in ten minutes.
My heart sank.
            Dad was still working in the bathroom in the apartment, and Mom had gone to Grants Pass to take Caleb somewhere. Which left me with the kids, who couldn’t be left alone.
I talked to Dad to see if there was any chance he could come in and watch the kids until Mom came home. And, as I thought, he said sorry, but it wouldn’t work out.
That’s when I lost it and indulged in my self pity-party.
I deserve to go to the campout, I thought angrily, putting dishes away none-to-gently. I’ve been sitting around all day watching the kids. I deserve a reward. Why do I have to miss out on everything?
I could have blamed it on the fact that I was an emotional wreck, but I knew that I was just being selfish and unreasonable. Dad had good reasons for not letting me go to the campsite. And I didn’t miss out on “everything” – just some things, when the timing was bad. It was silly of me to be so upset about it.
And I knew it. I was mad at myself for being ridiculous. I prayed for God to help change my attitude, and shifted my thoughts to a different topic. The disappointment was still there, but I wasn’t dwelling on it.

So, why am I writing a blog post about this? Because so much of life depends on our attitude. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. The reason my Saturday turned so sour was because I was focusing on the bad; how irritating my siblings were, how frustrated I was, how my feelings were being ignored.
            Notice how all those things are about me? We are so selfish, on a regular basis, without even realizing it. But that’s a discussion for another time.
            Rather than focus on the little annoyances and pet peeves of everyday life, why don’t we focus on all the joys? At first glance, there may not seem to be many (if any), but if you look closely, you will find them. The way the baby’s face lights up when he smiles. Leaves trembling in the breeze. The throaty hum of a vacuum. Juice squirting as you bite into an orange. Mud oozing between your toes. The bubbly laughter of children.
            This is finding beauty in the little things. So often, the little things are what go unnoticed. God has given us innumerable blessings, each one wrapped carefully in something to bring us pleasure. Why don’t we tear into these gifts and embrace the joy? They’re there for us.
            Here’s something to remember: There is something beautiful in every moment. So let’s try to find out just what that gift is.
            The wind is blowing hard, knocking windchimes clumsily together. Music floats on air…
            Thank You Lord, for this moment.


  1. What an awesome reminder, Riah. Having many siblings and been sleep deprived lately myself, I can completely understand where you are coming from. Well done for having the wisdom to see what needed changing and asking God's help for it. :)

    You made me think of this picture:

  2. SO TRUE.
    I sometime wish I could have the reminders I need to keep me joyful on peoples foreheads. LOL!

  3. Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen. Mariah, I love this!!!! I am so proud of you. <3

  4. Wow, this totally reminds me of me! :p I used to write like this (I still do occasionally), first writing out how sorry I was for myself and every awful thought I was thinking, then I'd get filled with guilt for feeling terrible and I'd turn everything around and argue with myself why I should be feeling differently, because it's not about me, it's about what God's teaching me. Then I get filled with joy and thankfulness, and it's wonderful. :)