- Caleb got a snow day on Monday, but I had to drive in the snow and go to work.
- On Tuesday, I got stuck in a snowbank and had to shovel my tiny car out. All by myself.
- I almost got frostbite because I shoveled my car out with a small scraper and my gloveless hands.
- Yesterday we lost power at 3 a.m. It’s still out, and PECO said it could take up to five days for it to be resolved.
I’ll admit, I’ve complained.
I was annoyed that I had to go into work even though there were only three children that showed up, and I was annoyed that I had to drive in the snow which is one of my least favorite things to do.
On Tuesday, I complained that my car got stuck and that I was cold, and that I had forgotten that there were gloves in the backseat of the car. I was also annoyed that we lost power and that it is still not working, and that I couldn’t make chicken fettuccini last night, and that we’ve had to resort to eating fast food for all of our meals.
While I sat wrapped up in my favorite Ikea blanket (life is realll hard over here. please hear my sarcasm), I started reading The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D, an assigned reading for my Perspectives on Parenting course. Although it provides a Jewish approach to parenting, I am learning so much, and realizing things that I want to change in my own life right now.
I got to chapter 5, “The Blessing of Longing,” where Mogel discusses how we must always be grateful for what we have already been given. Somehow, the idea that we need more, more, more in order to be content, has instead taken away happiness and our ability to be a blessing to others. Mogel writes, “In Deuteronomy, God reminds us that he will punish us for feeling deprived when we have ‘plenty of everything’ but ‘will not serve God with happiness and a glad heart.'” Oof.
But what really got to me was when Mogel says:
The rabbis respect our passions but require us to refrain from overindulgence. What, then, are we to do with our natural desires? We are to convert them into good impulses via prayers of gratitude called “blessings.” Jewish tradition encourages adults to say 100 blessings of gratitude a day. To fill a blessing quota this huge, you have to be vigilant about looking for things to be thankful for.
This seems so minimal, because when I stop to think about it, God blesses me with so much on a daily basis.
However, how often do I actually take the time to thank God for one hundred blessings in my life? Not often enough, that’s for sure. And even though we are experiencing less than perfect conditions, why am I so ungrateful when compared to others, I have so much? That being said, today I decided to try and think of 100 things that I am grateful for. For the sake of those who decide to read this post, I will only write down 20.
- My good health
- A loving husband
- A professor that blessed me with $20 for food, because our power is out
- Warm blankets
- An apartment that is still in one piece
- A working car
- A warm coat
- A friendly cat
- Avocados (we had avocados for breakfast)
- A caring family
- My job
- For the dreams and goals that God has given us
- Good books
- A warm bed
- A working phone
- A good education & knowledgable professors
- Flashlights & candles
Some of the things I came up with seemed so insignificant at first, but when I stop to think about it, shouldn’t I be thanking God even more for those small insignificant things?
I shouldn’t have to wait for God to bless me with a new job or car to begin thanking Him. I need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude even in the smallest, (and often most difficult) moments.
Keep in mind those of us here in Pennsylvania. Pray the power lines are fixed quickly, and that families will stay safe and warm.