599 words

November 15 2017

Comparison is the thief of joy. It also steals contentment. It kills relationships. We live in a culture obsessed with MORE. Bigger homes, newer cars, exotic vacations, larger paychecks, faster phones. Smarter kids, bigger boobs, more important jobs, Instagram worthy meals, perfect marriages. Always looking for MORE means you will never have enough.

The antidote for comparison is gratitude. Am I right? It shifts our focus to what is good. Do I have ENOUGH?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is my list...

My parents who taught me what sacrificial love looks like. My mom died much too early and instead of giving up, my dad found love again. So, I’ve had the chance to be loved well by a wonderful stepmom.

My in-laws and my parents were neighbors and friends. My mom died the day before I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. My mother-in-law has loved and encouraged me through my own motherhood. Everyone should be so lucky to have a Donna in their life. My father-in-law is the most patient and kind man you could hope to meet. He has to be- he’s been married to feisty little Donna for 65 years!

Daughter number one was born into great joy and great sorrow. I think her compassionate heart was in part shaped by my grief and joy during pregnancy. She has been married for almost 5 years to a man that I adore. He is wise and kind and has a tender heart. They became foster parents this past summer to two little boys. Brothers. 9 months old and 2 years old. I am humbled to see these two struggle to love and learn to parent in the most challenging of situations. Gratitude for all they have been given drives their capacity to love these beautiful boys well.

Daughter number two was born into great anticipation. We all waited for her to arrive and complete our family of four. She is headstrong and funny and has a deep streak of kindness that will take your breath away. She is engaged to a young man who is smart and kind and tender hearted. They are planning a life together without much of a road map, but they are certain they want to do it together and man, are they excited for the journey!

My posse. My people have been together for almost 20 years. We met at church and chose to live our lives in close community. Weddings, babies, graduations. Deaths, cancer, divorce. Dinner together on Saturday nights. The best part is that we still consider ourselves unbelievably lucky to have found each other.

My man. I’ve been married for 30 years! We met the day I graduated from high school. I walked my dog down the street past his parents house and he was out front washing his car (no shirt, big muscles). I was smitten! Could not walk away! We married 2 years later. He is a man of integrity and faithfulness. He loves animals, is wickedly funny and loves me passionately.

My savior. Hope for a hopeless world.

It is not a perfect life. Real relationships are messy. Grief never really leaves you. It hides in crevices to creep out when you least expect it. I have had arguments with friends, parents, kids, husband that I thought would break me. Marriage can be heartbreakingly lonely at times. I have been disappointed and done the disappointing.

However, when I stop looking at what everyone else has and am thankful for what I’ve been given, I find Joy

gail a
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