We recently visited an elderly member of our church as she was not feeling well, and throughout the short time spent in her presence I was struck by how humble and content she was. She was constantly trying to serve us, though she had been feeling poorly. She truly enjoyed playing with our crazy toddler, regardless of the fact that he was intent on destroying her house. She genuinely enjoyed our company, short though it was.
As she delighted us with tales of motherhood to her own four boys, now grown with their own families, she told us of a particularly dark time in their marriage. She and her four little boys were all cramped into a 1-bedroom apartment, and to put them to put she lined up cots in the hallway and harnessed two boys to each bed so they wouldn’t fall out in their sleep. She and her husband worked opposite shifts and they rarely saw one another.
Listening to her stories, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly humble she was. She never talked about those times with bitterness or resentment, but simply as a part of her life. She seems so content even now, though she is without her life-long companion and spends a great deal of time on her own. She is a strong and independent lady even in her old age –walking to church each week! – yet she delighted in playing catch with my son as if she was still a child herself.
The beauty in her humility, joyous nature and general contentment convicted me of my own struggle with ungratefulness. During the sermon on “loving as a community” that my husband preached this past Sunday, he touched briefly on how love does not envy and is not bitter. God has slowly been showing me how truly ungrateful I have been for what I have been given. Consciously or otherwise, I have been comparing myself to others in my group of friends, community or even generation at large, becoming envious of things others have that I do not.
I glimpsed in 75 minutes what it looks like to simply live, without my own expectations of what life should be like. – to be grateful for the moments that bring joy, and to rejoice with others despite my own circumstances, to be appreciative of what I have, particularly in light of my Savior’s sacrifice for me on the cross.
May this be a gentle reminder, as it was for me, to embrace with gratefulness the life you’ve been given – whether or not your present circumstances reflect what you think it should be like!
– Savanna Adams