Gratitude Now

By Melanie Valderrama

The Law of Relativity states that your situation is not fundamentally good or bad until you compare it to something else.

I used to love to complain. The weather and my housing situation were two of my favorites, although I found plenty of other things to complain about. Give me a situation, and I would instantly see the bad.

When I first learned this law, I decided to test it and see if I could find good in my situation when I would compare it to something else.

I started with the weather. I don’t like it to be too hot or too cold. I found, in the winter, when it would snow, I started to be grateful for the moisture and the beauty of the snow. I decided to look at it as my children do and be excited for the chance to build a snowman, make a snow angel or have a snowball fight. In the summer, when it’s hot, I’m grateful for the warmth the sun provides and that I can wear my sandals and paint my toenails and take my kids to the pool. My children love to play outside all day and they have lots of friends. I have come to realize that there is absolutely nothing I can do about the weather, so I might as well enjoy it.

I live in a condo with my husband and two children and sometimes I complain that it’s too small. I started to express gratitude that I no longer live in my parents’ basement, I don’t have to take care of a lawn, it’s easy to meet my neighbors, it’s not too big to keep clean and we live in a great neighborhood. My home has running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, air conditioning, heating and protects me from the elements-the hot and cold I used to complain about.

I recently read “The Hiding Place,” by Corrie ten Boom. Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie were taken to one of Hitler’s concentration camps for helping the Jews. One thing that has really stuck with me is when they were reading in the Bible where it says to thank God in ALL circumstances, not just the pleasant ones. At the time, they were housed in barracks that were infested with fleas. Betsie insisted that they needed to be grateful for them. One day, they found out why. They were allowed a lot of freedom to go around from group to group during the day and read to them from the Bible because the guards didn’t want to enter the room since there were so many fleas. After reading Corrie’s story, I feel incredibly wealthy. I have running water and can take a shower every day, a toilet that flushes, a clean bed and sheets to sleep in, food to eat, freedom to come and go as I please, communication with others and much more. I feel truly blessed and grateful for what I have NOW!

I have found that as I’ve turned my complaining into statements of gratitude, I feel better and where I once saw my life as gray and bleak, I now see colors and light!

Melanie Valderrama

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