I would have to say that last night (Tues.) I was as disappointed as I've ever been before.
The day started off okay. I went to the doc and made sure I didn't have any kind of flu because they are really cracking down on the visitors at Children's (and I'm thankful for that). Me and Lisa took my Ma to the doctor in Birmingham, and went to see Jackman during her visit. When visiting time was up we left, went and picked Ma up just as she got finished, and came home. We planned to rest for an hour or so and go back up to the hospital.
I was really worn out, and I said to Lisa "I wish we didn't have to drive back up there. I want to be there, I just don't want to make the trip." That was the first time I ever complained about driving back and forth to Children's Hospital after over 30 trips.
I was a little irritable because I didn't feel good. Traffic never helps, so I was grumbling a little more than usual, but I was getting in a better mood because we were about to see our boy.
Well, when we finally made it to NICU at Children's, they were closed. Visiting hours were suspended because one of the babies was having a procedure done. Our nurse came to the door and told us about it. We were relieved to hear that it wasn't Jackman being worked on, but when the door closed and it sank in that we weren't going to get to see him, and hold him, and talk to him that night, it took all the wind out of my sails. I really could have started crying right there.
Lisa could tell it upset me. More often than not, I would be the one consoling her, and helping her see the bright side, but last night wasn't one of those times. She did that for me, and I really needed it. I was ready to throw a pity party, and I was feeling rotten for having complained about making the drive that night, but she kept me from going down that road. She said something like "Now we don't have a choice. We'll have to slow down and get some rest." By the time we got home we decided to just sit in the big chair together and watch a movie. I think we both needed that.
I learned a little lesson about complaining, and hopefully it will tide me over for a while. I'm a natural at complaining, and anyone who knows the Harper's knows what I'm talking about. Most Harper's are by nature experts in the field of complaining (and some of my family may even be complaining now about me pointing that out, and even about the fact that I pointed it out that I pointed it out...get it). So it goes without saying that in the area of NOT complaining, I've got quite a hill to climb. I can see this is a lesson I will be taking remedial classes in for life, but I'm always improving.
The trick is to take the time to compare the problem to something that actually matters. For instance: I complained about the drive last night, but compared to not getting to see my boy it's nothing. I would gladly drive twice as far with that in mind. Or for another example, we tend to hear complaining within the church about trivial matters that have nothing to do with a soul's final destination, when just a couple months back I was attending a church service in a hut in the Amazon jungle, 100 degrees in the shade, and everyone had to walk forever through the steamy jungle to get there. (and they weren't complaining).
If anyone ever had the right to complain, it would have been Jesus. He put up with a lot, and that is the understatement of understatements. I just wish I could always remember that when I'm ready to start complaining .
One thing I have noticed, it feels good at first...when you begin to complain. The problem is you want more and more to satisfy yourself. It's like eating at Subway; it doesn't hold you over for no time at all and you need more. It is unlike Subway in that it is always easy and convenient to do (sorry Subway fans, you know it's true).
The best thing (and consequently the hardest thing) to do is give thanks for something instead of complaining. I have a few migraine headaches a year, and they are literally the most painful thing I've ever experienced. Nothing fixes them, I just have to wait (2 days one time). They completely incapacitate me. The only thing that gives me any relief or peace, and the thing I always do now when I get one, is to start giving God thanks for all he's done for me, beginning with my health.
...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I didn't make that up, check and see.
Well anyway, that's what I'm trying to do. Today has been a really good day for complaining, and I have messed up a few times, but I can see that, and I'm giving thanks in all circumstances. I had to be grateful last night our son was okay; how could I not be? God has been too good to all of us to walk around complaining all the time.