There is a large pile of snow at the end of my driveway that I run over every time I back out. This morning was no different, so I said to my daughter “I hope the rain melts the rest of that snow, I hate backing over it every day.” To which my daughter replied “why don’t you chip away at it with the shovel?” And I said “It doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it, it only bothers me enough to complain about it.”
There is some comfort in complaining. In my commiserating I find a sense of community. Casual conversations are struck up in the grocery store about the length of the lines, the price of gas, and, of course, the weather. The rain is a perfect conversation starter, but if I respond with a big smile and a comment about April showers bringing May flowers I am met with uncomprehending blank stares.
Because the point isn’t the rain, it’s about bonding through our negativity. By dismissing someone’s opinion about the weather, I have lost the opportunity to validate their feelings. But communicating this way has fostered in me a habit of griping. Not out of any sense of despair, depression, or unhappiness, but just because it’s how I learned to interact with people.
During this Lent season, I am intentionally focusing on my relationship with God. Through daily Bible readings, I am paying attention to how Jesus interacted with people and I am struck by how often he gave thanks. Not Pollyanna, April showers positivity, but simple gratitude. And again I am faced with a choice. Do I choose to remain comfortable and secure in my habit of complaining? Or do I choose to give thanks for the fact that I own a house with a driveway and a shovel, while I chip away at the snow.