Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Resolution: Be Grateful

New Year's Eve started out at a Japanese steak house with friends.

Kids came too.  Some approached the dinner with deep seriousness.

Dinner was followed with a New Year's Eve party.  Dear friends kept me laughing until midnight.

Chris fancies himself as a rapper.  He showed off his skills with the help of a mic, a karaoke machine, and a good sense of humor.

On the days following Christmas, many friends and strangers have rehashed their holiday experiences.  Several shared cheery Christmas stories that rivaled those depicted in a Norman Rockwell painting.  But others, the most honest sort, added unfiltered details.  Those friends admitted to the burnt casseroles and the awkward family moments.  Although our Christmas was a treat, it included some hiccups.

Take Christmas morning.

When the boys first eyed the tree bursting with presents, only three sons appeared ecstatic.  One son huffed at his loot.  He spewed out his concern and disdain.  Just by looking at his pile, he imagined his requested gifts were not included in his stash.

I seethed over his reaction.  "He's so concerned about what he doesn't have, that he's failing to appreciate what he was given....and it's a lot," I quietly huffed.

After the presents were opened and the boys were entertained, I jumped into the shower and reflected on this son's reaction.  As I mentally recounted the chain of events, I grew angry.  That's when I was struck with an epiphany (showers seem to lend themselves to those moments): This is how I treat life.  This is how I treat God.

I'm standing in front of an endless supply of gifts, good ones.  And yet, sometimes I react like this son.  I fail to appreciate what I've been given, and sulk about the one thing that is lacking (and may not even been a good gift at all).  The magnitude of this picture sent tears streaming down my cheeks.

And it inspired me to make a change.

My New Year's Resolution has nothing to do with a calorie counter or exercise plan (although both would be helpful).  My resolution is to be more grateful and joyous about the gifts I've been given, and less focused and distraught over what I perceive to be lacking.

I want to be a "have" person.  I resolute to be thankful for what I have, and not fixated on the have nots.  

I want to be a "can" person.  I resolute to be thankful for what I can do, and not downtrodden by what I cannot do.

I want to be happy with what "is."  I resolute to be content with what is, and not bitter by what isn't.

I resolute to make 2016 a year where I focus on gratitude, as I have been given much to be grateful.

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