It has come to my attention that I’m not a gift. Obviously I’m not wrapped in pretty wrapping paper, with a big, shiny bow on top. And if you shake me to see what’s inside, it probably WON’T make you smile. But what IS inside? Something exciting, something you’ve always dreamed of, something to be so grateful for?
Maybe. But it is wrapped underneath so many layers of paper that after about the 50th layer, most just give up in frustration. So what’s the big deal? Why should I be a gift? ‘I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.’ Nope – I’m not Popeye either.
The deep amount of gratitude welling up inside of me should so consume me as to spring out of me, like a fountain, drenching everyone in a smile’s range. This gratitude is for God. Except I’m not grateful. My gratitude level is maybe a trickle. My pessimistic, selfish nature overpowers more virtuous attributes, and I linger on the more negative aspects of my life – diapers, cleaning, discipline, chaos, diapers – instead of changing the lens and trying on a positive perspective – happy, well-fed baby; beautiful, spacious home; energetic, healthy children. It’s the same situation, but I choose time and time again to view it through my gray lens, while passers-by with gray hair remind me of the rosy lens that I need to dust off.
For what purpose do I do this? Does it give me a sense of pride or accomplishment? Does my family feel nurtured and cherished? Or rather, do I bring gloom and doom with me wherever I go, leaving everyone wondering if I’m just in a bad mood or was it something they said? I’m letting my pessimism get the best of me even now. It really isn’t that bad. I know how to smile, and do, more than I used to. It’s hard not to smile when you’re surrounded my children. But I could still do better, and I want to. I want to be a gift – to let God’s love flow through me to every person I meet. Blessed Mother Teresa said it best – “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
And that is my mission as a child of God, Catholic wife and homeschooling mother – to love. I must surrender my natural, sinful tendencies of negativity. I must surrender my need for being alone. I must surrender my desire to just get the job done. “…if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2b) What is the point of this life, but to love? I want to get to Heaven; I want my family to get to Heaven. How can we get there without letting God’s love flow to each other? I put up a blockade, and God is a gentleman. He sits, patiently waiting for me to let Him in, to open that floodgate so all of His Love and grace can flood my heart and my life, touching me so deeply that anyone can see Him through me.
It isn’t enough to smile. It isn’t enough to be grateful for what I have, what God has given me. I want to be a gift. I want to act in a such a way that others smile. I want to allow God to bless people through me. I want to stop putting myself first and think of others for a change. I want to forget myself and trust God will take care of me. I want to surrender to Him. He wants the same thing.
Could You help me do it faster?
“Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalms 46:11)