Now, at the risk of sounding "new agey" (which is something that I've been accused of before, even though I consider myself to be really down-to-earth, never mind the fact that I have a prism hanging from the rear-view mirror of our car, and write about my experiences with Dream Books just about every chance I get), I must admit that I learned a few things from this book, and that I've put some of the principles taught there into practice, with good results.
Ms. Norville starts out by sharing an experience, a time when she was stuck in an airport, trying to get home in the middle of a storm when her flight had been cancelled, along with the flights of pretty much everyone else in the airport. To make a long story short, she found a way to be grateful for the situation, and almost immediately she was offered two different seats on two different flights home. I was impressed with her story, and I shared it with Eric.
(Eric took one look at the cover of the book, which features a picture of Deborah Norville looking particularly blonde and svelte and told me that her getting offered those seats had much more to do with a couple of businessmen wanting to sit next to a nice looking woman than the fact that she found a way to be grateful in her hardship. I just think he's being cynical, don't you?)
Anyway, oddly enough, I read this particular account at the end of a pretty difficult day. Things had been stressful at work, the house was cluttered and messy, the laundry wasn't done, there were dishes in the sink, I was annoyed with Eric just on general principle, etc, etc. You know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? I was lying in bed, feeling foolish for my actions and attitude (which only made me more angry) when Heather started to fuss in her crib. Groan. Didn't she know that it was time for her to sleep? I had no patience for her fussing, and I was getting madder and madder at her, at Eric, at my situation, and at my life. Grrr.
Long story shorter, we were able to get Heather settled down, but I was still in a horrifically bad mood. Eric picked up on the mood (it was hard to miss after all), and gave me plenty of space, so as not to find himself in the line of my fire. This made me even more upset, because I felt like he was avoiding me (which he was, which I don't blame him). I lay there in bed, reading this book, getting more and more angry, setting myself up for a long hard night of restless, frustrated sleep.
And then a light inside of me turned on. I realized that I was reading this story about the power of gratitude, while at the same time, being completely ungrateful for anything in my life. I decided to try my own version of a little gratitude experiment. As I listened to Heather whimpering in the next room, I scanned my mind for something in this situation that was worthy of my gratitude.
It didn't take long. The previous day, a neighbor of mine told me of one of her nieces. She was born in July, and as a complication of her birth, her esophagus was damaged, and she was unable to make any sounds for several months. However, to everyone's joy, this little baby had just cried her first cry the week before, at six months of age. As I remembered this story, I said a little prayer of gratitude, thanking Heavenly Father for giving me a daughter who has been able (and more than willing) to cry since the day she was born.
Oddly enough, and you aren't going to believe this but it's the absolute truth, within 10 minutes Eric and I were in complete harmony with each other once again. He wasn't trying to avoid me anymore, and I wasn't frustrated with him (or anything else) either. Within 30 minutes after that, I was sleeping peacefully, and I stayed asleep for several hours (until Heather woke up for her middle-of-the-night milk run).
With an experience like that, I couldn't just stop there. So, for the past little while, when I find myself feeling edgy or stressed or frustrated or anxious, sometimes (when I remember), I'll stop and find something to be grateful for in the situation. At times I really have to stretch, but so far I've always been able to find at least one thing. The results have not always been as dramatic as the night I thanked the Lord for Heather's ability to cry, but the fact is, my situation has always improved a least a little bit after I've taken the time to say a little thank you.
Nice, huh? I think so.
* * *
In other news, there really isn't much to say. I went visiting teaching tonight, and enjoyed it. Eric started back to school on Monday, and so far, things seem to be going well. As for Heather, she's starting to adjust to being back in our little quiet home after spending Christmas vacation surrounded by loud and loving cousins, uncles, grandparents, and aunts. Things are good. We're a lucky threesome.
These posts have been a bit long lately, haven't they? We're probably due for a short one soon, right? I'll see what I can do.